Union Carbide Corporation to Pay $3.85 Million to Mesothelioma Victim’s Family

On December 12, the Mississippi Supreme Court voted 4-3 to overrule a Smith County judge who threw out a mesothelioma case for failure to show that Larry Smith, a deceased individual who worked on petroleum drilling rigs from the ’60s until the early ’90s, had developed the disease as a result of on-the-job exposure to asbestos. The exposure, Smith’s wife claimed, came by way of drilling additives made by the Union Carbide Corporation.

Initially, after filing a lawsuit against the Union Carbide Corporation in 2006, the plaintiffs—Smith’s family—were awarded $3.85 million in 2009 following a three-week trial. But the verdict was overturned and the case was dismissed in 2010, when the Smith County judge determined that the plaintiffs did not succeed in showing that the victim had been exposed to the hazardous material on a regular basis. The Supreme Court, however, felt that a “frequency, regularity, and proximity” test had caused the county judge to dismiss the case, and that the test was unnecessary at that point in the trial. As the plaintiff’s claim should not have been held to this standard, the Supreme Court decided the family had successfully proven that the Union Carbide Corporation had contributed to Mr. Smith’s development of mesothelioma.

The Union Carbide Corporation has until January 27 to file a motion asking that the case be reviewed by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

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