Two Swiss Companies to Pay $90.5 Million to Families of Mesothelioma Victims

After a week-long trial, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Ana Viscomi awarded a total of $90.5 million to eleven families from Somerset County who lost loved ones to mesothelioma, an aggressive type of cancer that is primarily caused by asbestos exposure. The families filed their lawsuits between 2008 and 2011, but the legal process was delayed due to the defendants being foreign companies.

The defendants – Anova Holding, AG, and Becon, AG – are based in Switzerland, but from the 1950s to the ’80s, were suppliers of asbestos to Johns-Manville, an American manufacturing company that was once headquartered in Somerset County. Johns-Manville filed for bankruptcy protection in 1982, at which time there were already more than 16,000 asbestos claims against the company.

Anova Holding and Becon are both successor companies to the Eternit group, which mined and provided asbestos to companies around the world, including Johns-Manville. Neither Anova Holding nor Becon appeared in court or responded to the claimants’ allegations.

The victims were aged between 49 and 81 years old. Of the eleven deceased, five were employees of Johns-Manville, and six were family members of Johns-Manville employees, who were exposed to asbestos through contact with contaminated clothing.

The $90.5 million sum included a range of awards, from $4 million to as much as $15 million.

“Our clients are grateful that their call for justice for their loved ones was answered,” said attorney Lea Kagan, who was part of the team that represented the families.

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