South Carolina Jury Awards $14 Million in Mesothelioma Verdict

A state court jury in South Carolina awarded the family of a mesothelioma victim $14 million this month after overwhelming evidence proved that that a Celanese Corp. power plant in Spartanburg contributed to the victim developing mesothelioma.

Dennis Seay was a maintenance worker at the Celanese Corp. power plant, where is duties each day exposed him to excessive amounts of asbestos. From 1971-1980, he was employed by Daniel Construction, a contractor of Celanese. However, since the Celanese Corp. controlled the asbestos-containing products and materials used at the plant, the company was named responsible for Seay developing malignant mesothelioma.

Seay was diagnosed in 2013. He passed away from mesothelioma complications in 2014, at age 70.

Following a 9-day trial earlier this month, the jury returned a verdict against the Celanese Corp. and awarded Seay’s family $12 million in damages, along with an additional $2 million in punitive damages. Seay’s family includes his wife, Linda Seay, and their three adult children.

According to the family’s mesothelioma attorney, Seay underwent extreme pain and distress the last few years of his life, which resulted in 11 lung drainage operations.

“In that last year of his life, his lungs collapsed 10 times and they had to be drained 11 times. He suffered immensely, and ultimately died the way many victims of mesothelioma do: a combination of blood constriction, wasting and suffocation.”

The attorney also stated that Seay suffered needlessly, as the disease could have been prevented had the Celanese Corp. acted responsibly.

“These companies always have knowledge of hazards the workers don’t. By the time Mr. Seay started working at the Celanese plant, they had full information upon which they could have acted. The company’s medical director even attended a landmark conference in 1964 at which the dangers of asbestos were made very clear to everyone in attendance. So for the company to ignore commonly accepted practices of worker safety, especially in the post-OSHA era, is unforgivable.”

More Mesothelioma Cases Expected to Surface

Although it’s been more than 30 years since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed strict regulations on the use of asbestos products and materials in the workplace, experts indicate that more and more cases are expected to surface within the next several years. Even though it’s been decades since people were exposed to asbestos, it can sometimes take up to 50 years before the first symptoms of an asbestos-related illness will surface.

Most people who unknowingly inhale asbestos fibers have no idea that they’ve developed an illness until the disease has reached its final stages. Once mesothelioma or other asbestos illnesses reach their final stages, prognosis is usually grim. If you think you or a loved one may have been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to tell your physician immediately and keep all medical checkups.

Additional Information and Assistance for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other illness due to asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool to find a top mesothelioma attorney in your area. With over $30 billion currently in asbestos trust funds, now is the right time to take the first step in determining what you may qualify for. If you have questions or need assistance, feel free to contact us at 800-694-4856.

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