In May of 2022, a Los Angeles jury awarded Deanne and Craig W. a mesothelioma verdict of $43 million dollars in compensatory damages. It is one of the largest asbestos verdicts since U.S. courts reopened last year after the COVID-19 pandemic stalled many lawsuits.
The couple filed their mesothelioma lawsuit by claiming Algoma Hardwoods, Inc. was responsible for Deanne’s malignant mesothelioma diagnosis in 2019.
The high-paying verdict came after two weeks of litigation in a Los Angeles courtroom. The jury concluded that Algoma Hardwoods, Inc. is liable for Deanne’s mesothelioma, which she developed after being exposed to asbestos during her employment with the company. Algoma Hardwoods was found to be negligent with knowing about the presence of asbestos in its fireproof doors.
Deanne’s lawsuit presented facts similar to a 2021 South Carolina lawsuit, in which a jury awarded $32 million to a woman who developed mesothelioma from doing her husband’s laundry. Her husband worked in an asbestos-heavy environment and brought asbestos dust home on his work uniform.
What Are Compensatory Damages in Mesothelioma Lawsuits?
Deanne and Craig were awarded a large sum of compensatory damages in their mesothelioma lawsuit against Algoma Hardwoods, Inc., but what exactly does the term “compensatory damages” mean?
Compensatory damages is a form of compensation delivered by verdicts in mesothelioma lawsuits. Compensatory damages applies to money the judge or jury feels the plaintiff is owed in a case. In mesothelioma lawsuits, compensatory damages are awarded to the patient to compensate for several burdens, such as paying for medical treatment, hiring legal representation, lost wages due to deteriorating health or pain and suffering.
Punitive damages is another legal term courts apply to punish the at-fault defendant in a case. The purpose of punitive damages is to deter the defendant and other similar defendants — in this case, manufacturers of fireproof doors — from making the same errors in the future.
To review, this is the difference between compensatory and punitive damages:
- Compensatory damages are with the victim or plaintiff in mind, hoping to rectify damage done to them.
- Punitive damages are with the at-fault company in mind, aiming to steer other companies from committing the same atrocities.
Asbestos in Algoma Hardwoods
Even being one of the largest asbestos verdicts so far in 2022,the lawsuit brought forth by Deanna and Craig is not the first time Algoma Hardwoods has faced adversity.
Ahnapee Veneer Seating began in 1892, eventually changing its name to Algoma Hardwoods, Inc. The company was later acquired by Masonite International Corp in 2012. Since then, the original Algoma Hardwoods production plant in Wisconsin has shut down.
The company was a leading manufacturer in wood-faced mineral-core doors, ultimately focusing more on the development of a fireproof door. The well-known doors were produced, distributed, and installed in commercial buildings and schools across the country for decades.
It was later reported that Algoma Hardwoods’ prized fireproof doors contained traces of asbestos. The mineral was often included in similar products due to its durable and heat-resistant properties. At the peak of asbestos use, the dangers of asbestos were unknown, so the mineral was not regulated.
As the asbestos-containing information came to light, lawsuits followed. Former plant employees emerged, insisting the door manufacturer knew about the dangers of asbestos and continued to use the mineral as a key element in the fireproof doors.
There are reports of former Algoma Hardwoods employees being diagnosed with mesothelioma and suing their former employer for occupational asbestos exposure. The rare lung cancer can remain dormant for 20-70 years. By the time initial mesothelioma symptoms are noticed by the patient, the cancer has started spreading and may have reached a nearby organ.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact one of our experienced patient advocates or a knowledgeable mesothelioma lawyer.
Sources & Author
Jury Awards $43M in Asbestos Trial; Georgia-Pacific 15% at Fault. LegalMag. Retrieved from: https://legal-mag.com/2022/05/24/jury-awards-43m-in-asbestos-trial-georgia-pacific-15-at-fault/. Accessed: 06/13/2022.
Algoma Hardwoods Owner Announces Plant Closing. Door County Pulse. Retrieved from: https://doorcountypulse.com/algoma-hardwoods-owner-announces-plant-closing/. Accessed: 06/13/2022.
About the Writer, Camryn Keeble
Camryn Keeble is a content writer and community outreach member for Mesothelioma Guide. She creates mesothelioma-related content for the Mesothelioma Guide website. Camryn’s goal is to decipher advanced information regarding mesothelioma into informative, simplified content to educate those affected by mesothelioma. She also works diligently to raise awareness of mesothelioma and its effects on patients and their loved ones by participating in daily outreach.
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