Appeals court strikes down $24 million asbestos verdict
Thursday, October 29, 2009
A Florida appeals court has ordered a new trial in a case that had resulted in a jury’s award of more than $24 million to the family of a man who died from a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Dr. Stephen Guilder, a surgeon, died last month at age 52. He had sued Honeywell, whose subsidiary Bendix made brake pads he had worked with as a teenager. Guilder claimed asbestos in those pads caused his peritoneal mesothelioma. Last year a Miami-Dade County jury found Honeywell negligent for selling the pads. But the 3rd District Court of Appeal remanded the case after agreeing with Honeywell that a 1960s letter from a Bendix employee to an asbestos supplier should not have been admitted into evidence. The letter showed Honeywell’s knowledge of asbestos dangers. The three-judge panel also ruled the jury erred in awarding more than $10 million to Guilder’s children for the loss of a parent, saying the statute involved did not apply to negligence that occurred at the time Guilder was exposed.