An Arkansas federal jury awarded a deceased mechanic’s son $18 million after finding that Honeywell International, among other parties, were responsible for causing his father’s fatal mesothelioma, Law360 reports.
Ronald Burlie Thomas filed a lawsuit against 11 companies including Honeywell and Ford Motor Company. He died at the age of 72 in December 2017. Following Mr. Thomas’ death, his son, Michael Lyn Thomas, stepped in as the plaintiff.
Ronald Thomas claimed that he was exposed to asbestos in materials he used while working as a mechanic. Honeywell’s predecessor, Bendix Corp., made the brakes that the jury determined were the source of Ronald Thomas’ asbestos exposure.
The jury found that Ford Motor Company was not responsible for Ronald Thomas’ mesothelioma diagnosis, but that Honeywell was liable for 18.75 percent. They also found Ronald Thomas himself was 5 percent to blame. The rest of the blame was passed off on the other companies named in the suit.
The jury then awarded $5.55 million in damages for pain and suffering, as well as $1 million for mental anguish to his three children, Michael Thomas, Kara Bryant and Joanne Scott. Another $10 million was awarded in punitive damages against Honeywell. However, Honeywell had reached an agreement with the plaintiffs over how much it would ultimately pay. That amount was not disclosed.
Asbestos is a durable, fire resistant mineral that was widely used in insulation and friction materials, like brakes and brake pads. Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or chest. It can take up to five decades for mesothelioma symptoms to present. Once diagnosed, the disease typically proves fatal within 12 to 24 months.