May 10, 2010 - California Asbestos Award Under Scrutiny

A court likely will reverse a $200 million punitive damage award given to a Los Angeles County woman in an asbestos case, a legal expert said.

"The award is unlikely to stand under California law, though I couldn't say if it's the trial court or appellate court that will reverse," Ted Frank of the Manhattan Institute Center for Legal Policy told LegalNewsline.com in a story published Monday.

The award against CertainTweed Corp. in the case of Rhoda Evans is the largest mesothelioma lawsuit award in California history.

Evans said her mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer, was caused by asbestos fibers and dust she breathed while cleaning the work clothes of her husband, Bobby Evans, a 24-year employee of the Los Angeles County Department of Water and Power.

In his work, Bobby Evans cut cement pipes containing crocidolite, an asbestos fiber. The pipe was made by CertainTeed.

Superior Court Judge Conrad Richard Aragon has postponed entering the judgment of $200 million in punitive damages and $8 million in compensatory damages. Aragon has asked lawyers on both sides to submit briefs on what they would consider appropriate punitive damages in the case.

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