On June 5, 2013, an Oakland jury completed its award to plaintiffs Rose-Marie and Martin Grigg of a total of $27,342,500 in damages stemming from Mrs. Grigg’s asbestos-caused mesothelioma. Mrs. Grigg, now 82, was exposed to asbestos in the course of shaking out and washing her husband’s work clothing. Mrs. Grigg’s then husband was an insulator for a company that used Owens-Illinois, Inc. Kaylo brand insulation products from 1950-1958.
Evidence introduced during trial showed that Owens-Illinois, Inc. knew that asbestos exposure could cause death as early as the 1930s and that test results on Kaylo showed that exposure to the asbestos in the product could cause fatal disease.
Owens-Illinois nonetheless advertised Kaylo as “non-toxic” and did not state that the product contained asbestos. Kaylo was packaged in boxes without warning about the health hazards associated with asbestos exposure.
“If we live in a society where product manufacturers are not held responsible for products once those products leave their possession, the world we live in is a dangerous place,” Mr. Satterley said to the jury as he asked them to find justice for Mrs. and Mr. Grigg.
The jury found that Owens-Illinois, Inc. manufactured a defective product, failed to adequately warn Mrs. Grigg, was negligent, and intentionally failed to disclose information about Kaylo-related health hazards to Mrs. Grigg. The jury also found that Owens-Illinois, Inc. acted with malice, oppression or fraud toward Mrs. Grigg.
The jury awarded Mrs. Grigg $12,000,000 in damages for her pain and suffering, Mr. Grigg $4,000,000 in damages for his loss of consortium, and $342,500 in economic damages. The jury also levied an $11,000,000 punitive damages verdict against Owens-Illinois, Inc.