Emerson Electric units lose companies' first asbestos trial; Jury orders $300K to meso victim

By Carrie Salls | Aug 23, 2017

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Legal Newsline) – An attorney for a former nuclear plant employee with mesothelioma said a $300,000 Aug. 3 jury verdict against Emerson Electric Co. units Fisher Controls International and Crosby Valve will help other asbestos plaintiffs with claims against the companies..

“Both companies have a liability story that has now been exposed, and that a jury has found that their actions were negligent," attorney Theile McVey of Kassel McVey told Legal Newsline

"The verdict demonstrates that when companies put profits over people’s lives and safety, eventually they will be held accountable.”

Courtroom View Network webcast the entire trial. Records can be accessed here.

McVey said her firm expects the verdict entered in the case of Dale Jolly “will provide a good roadmap of evidence to other injured persons seeking to hold Fisher and Crosby accountable for their wrongdoing.”

Jolly was employed by Duke Energy. He and his wife filed the lawsuit against the Emerson subsidiaries in the Court of Common Pleas for the 7th Judicial Circuit of South Carolina.

McVey said Dale Jolly was exposed to asbestos from valve gaskets and packing in a power plant setting.

According to McVey, Crosby and Fisher corporate representatives acknowledged in their testimony “that they had nonasbestos packing and gaskets that could have been substituted and that those substitutes would work just as well. Yet, they continued sell the asbestos gaskets and packing.”

The jury found that both defendants had breached the implied warranty of merchantability in connection with the parts supplied to Duke Energy, McVey said. McVey said the workers followed the defendants’ manufacturer’s maintenance instructions and the jury rejected the claims from the defendants that sought to blame the plaintiff.

Jolly's attorneys argued that Fisher and Crosby had failed to consider the health or safety of asbestos valves and asbestos replacement parts products.

Both sides have filed post-trial motions. Any decision from the defense to appeal would depend on the outcome of those motions.

There are other cases currently pending against Emerson in South Carolina and other jurisdictions in the country.

Emerson press representative David Baldridge said the company had no comment on the Jolly verdict.

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