October 25, 2002 - Asbestos Claim Held Against Union Carbide

A jury in a high-profile case in West Virginia on Thursday found Union Carbide, a unit of Dow Chemical, liable for some workers' asbestos exposure, setting the stage for another trial to consider damages. The verdict found that Union Carbide had exposed workers to an unsafe work environment between 1945 and 1980 by using the fireproof mineral in its buildings. The jury also found that the company's products were defective, exposing workers to asbestos between 1963 and 1972.

Asbestos crisis Companies across the globe are facing financial crises as the number of asbestos-related lawsuits grows. The next phase is set to look at whether the exposure caused health problems in the workers and that it occurred in those timeframes. The jury could award treble damages for such a finding for the work environment exposure, but no punitive award for the product exposure.

The case is part of the high-profile asbestos case that once included 250 companies, including oil group ExxonMobil and manufacturer Honeywell International, versus about 8,000 plaintiffs. All but Dow's Union Carbide unit have settled, leaving 2,000 plaintiffs in the case. Union Carbide said it planned to appeal against the verdict on procedural grounds and would continue its appeals as high as the US Supreme Court.

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