Imagine having a jury decide that an asbestos company is not liable for your mesothelioma based on a judge’s unwillingness to let them review essential evidence. That is exactly what happened to a Philadelphia widow who was seeking compensation in the death of her husband from the rare, asbestos-related disease. Upon review of the case, the judges of Pennsylvania’s Superior Court said the lower court had abused its discretion and that as a result the case would need to be reheard.
Jury Had Found All Other Mesothelioma Defendants Guilty
The mesothelioma lawsuit was filed by Colleen Schrader, whose husband Ernest had died after having worked for the E.I. Nemours DuPont Edgemoor Facility in Delaware for over 35 years. During that time he was exposed to asbestos from several different products, and she filed suit against all of them. Only one refused to settle out of court – Ameron International Corporation – and her case against that company was heard over the course of a 10-day trial.
A large amount of evidence was heard over a week-and-a-half by the jury, all pointing to the company’s asbestos-contaminated product and its role in Mr. Schrader’s mesothelioma. A key piece of evidence revolved around an Ameron employee who had specifically discussed the dangers posed by asbestos. When the jury was sent to consider the company’s liability they asked to see that evidence again, but the judge refused the request and told them to rely upon their memory.
Judge’s Denial of Jury Request Leads to Appeal and Retrial
When the jury deciding the mesothelioma case asked to see the single piece of evidence again, the judge remarked that he did not want to set a precedent that would lead to multiple evidence requests. Without that piece of information, the jury found Ameron not liable, even though they found all of the other named defendants guilty.
In consideration of Mrs. Schrader’s appeal, the Superior Court judges criticized the trial court’s denial of the jury’s evidence request. They wrote that it was a “manifestly unreasonable exercise of discretion” that they could not “conclude that the error was harmless.” The widow’s case will be heard again and she will have the opportunity to get the justice that she and her late husband deserved.
Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney Paul Danziger
Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.