Family of deceased plumber awarded $6.5M in Iowa asbestos case

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | May 8, 2014

MASON CITY, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - A Write County, Iowa, jury has awarded a deceased asbestos victim's family $6.5 million, including punitive damages.

The jury rendered its verdict on April 25 in favor of plaintiffs Shari and Ricky Kinseth, on behalf of Larry Kinseth's estate, deceased, in the Iowa District Court for Wright County. Judge Stephen P. Carroll presided over the case.

Weil-McLain was the only remaining defendant at the time of trial and was found 25 percent liable.

"Iowa applies the proportionate credit rule," Carroll wrote, "under which the plaintiffs' recovery for compensatory damages against the non-settling defendant is reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the settling companies."

According to the complaint filed Jan. 7, 2008, Larry Kinseth worked with the family's plumbing business when he worked with asbestos-containing boilers that were manufactured and sold by Weil-McClain.

According to the judgment entered on May 2, the award can be broken down as follows:

- Pre-Death Spousal Consortium: $500,000

- Pre-Death Medical Expense: $500,000

- Pre-Death Physical and Mental Pain and Suffering: $2,000,000

- Pre-Death Loss of Full Mind and Body: $500,000

- Post-Death Loss of Spousal Consortium: $500,000

- The jury also awarded $2,500,000 in punitive damages

Regarding punitive damages, Carroll stated that because the jury indicated Weil-McLain's conduct "was not specifically directed at" Kinseth, the award must be divided between the Larry Kinseth Estate and the Iowa Civil Reparations Fund.

As a result, Shari Kinseth will recover $125,000 in compensatory damages from Weil-McLain, with interest beginning in Jan. 2008.

The estate of Larry Kinseth will recover $875,000 in compensatory damages from Weil-McLain, with interest beginning from the date of the judgment filing.

As for punitive damages, Carroll wrote that after all applicable costs and fees are paid, an amount not to exceed 25 percent of the punitive damage award may be awarded to the Estate of Larry Kinseth, with the remainder of the award to be paid into the Iowa Civil Reparations Trust.

The allocation of punitive damages will be made by an order at a later date after interested parties have had an opportunity to be heard, he added.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Heather Isringhausen Gvillo at

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