Calling trial by jury the “bedrock of our justice system,” the Washington state Supreme Court recently reversed an appeal’s court’s revocation of an $81.5 million mesothelioma verdict. The court called the Court of Appeals decision “inappropriate,” putting an end to a long and emotional journey for a family already suffering from the grief of losing a loved one.
Case Involved Painful Death from Peritoneal Mesothelioma
The case decided by the Washington state justices revolved around Jerry Coogan, a 67-year-old man who died of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma six months after being diagnosed with the rare and deadly disease. His family filed suit against Genuine Parts Company and National Automotive Parts Association, accusing them of having been negligent in exposing him to their asbestos-contaminated brakes and automobile parts. After twelve weeks of testimony, a Washington state jury awarded his family and estate $81.5 million in damages. Both companies appealed.
Upon hearing the defendants’ arguments against the trial jury’s mesothelioma verdict, the Court of Appeals held that the decision was correct but that the damages needed to be recalculated, and that a new trial was needed. The family appealed this decision to the state’s Supreme Court, which overturned the appellate court’s decision. In confirming the $81.5 million in damages for the family, they criticized what they viewed as judicial overreach.
State Supreme Court Decision Ends Six-Year Journey for Mesothelioma Victim’s Family
In reversing the appellate court’s order of a new trial for damages, the state Supreme Court put an end to six years of legal torment for the former auto mechanic’s family, who had testified about the pain and suffering his mesothelioma caused in his last few months. Though the defendants argued that a decision to exclude testimony from their medical expert about Coogan’s liver cirrhosis had negatively impacted their case and had been an abuse of discretion, the Supreme Court called the appeals court’s decision in support of this argument an overstep, ruling that the judges had “inappropriately substituted its own judgment for that of the trial court, and most importantly, the jury.”
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.