A Manhattan jury awarded the family of Stephen Brown, who died from an asbestos related illness, $53.5 million in damages against Honeywell International, as the successor in interest of Allied Signal Corp. and its Bendix division.
The other defendants had earlier settled with the plaintiffs, but Honeywell/Bendix wasn’t a party to the proceeding. The large award is explained in part by the jury’s finding of recklessness on the part of Bendix, but the large award also points out the substantial economic losses from asbestos litigation.
A recent study of asbestos related insurance claims by consultants Tillinghast-Towers Perrin reached the conclusion that, “Settlements to individuals exposed to asbestos in the U.S. and related expenses will ultimately reach $200 billion.” The report indicated that 30 percent of that amount, around $60 billion would probably be borne by the U.S. Insurance industry, and approximately 39 percent would be retained by the asbestos defendants (i.e., manufacturers, distributors, premises owners, etc.).
Reuters News Agency reported that Honeywell intended to appeal the verdict and expected the award to be overturned or reduced, and that, with some $2 billion in coverage, the company was well insured.
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