Akron rubber workers who developed serious illness and/or died as a result from asbestos exposure are nearing settlement for damages in Summit County Probate Court. A hearing is scheduled for June 22md at 9am. The number of cases could rise to 1500 by time the hearing is due at probate court. These damage claims were originally filed In the 80’s and 90’s. In U.S. history it is the most enduring mass tort case. Filed by boiler makers and rubber workers from major engineering and tire companies in Akron.
There remains no legal challenge to settlement payouts. The objective now is to locate deceased workers heirs in the court of probate in order to make final paper work and for the distribution of settlement monies. In 2008 a fund was set up amounting to $80 million. The settlement agreed between Johns Manville Corporation of Denver (Asbestos manufacturer) and insurer Travelers Cos. Inc. The largest number of claimants came from Summit County with around 14,000 from Ohio. The fund was originally to cover up to 20,000. In relation to national claims these were consolidated in The New York Federal Bankruptcy Court. Former governor Mario M. Cuomo served as mediator.
A number of appeals reaching the U.S. Supreme Court delayed the payouts. For more than ten years Travelers fought their payment obligations. The company was ordered last Summer to meet their obligations by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals meeting in New York. Following claimants being left in limbo for eleven years. Settlements for the asbestos related illnesses ranged from $2,100 to $23,000 determined by medical diagnoses. One of the more serious illnesses cited as Mesothelioma.
The hearing will be conducted by Elinore Marsh (Summit County Probate). This to commence locating heirs. The majority of workers worked for B.F. Goodrich, Goodyear, General Tire, Goodyear Aerospace, Firestone, Babcock and Wilcox and Mohawk. Heirs being nephews, nieces, children and grandchildren. Those who feel they may well be related should go along to the hearing or ring the court on 330-643-2330. Case information is also available by ringing the offices of Bevan in Hudson (330-650-0088).
Archives from the Mesothelioma Center confirm a landmark claim against Johns Manville by James O. Cavett. From 1939, for forty years, he was employed around pipe and boiler insulation. In his claim for personal injury in Tennessee Cavett put forward testimony that asbestos dust appeared as though a barrel of flour had been dumped over you. After dying from lung cancer (asbestos-related) a jury awarded $800,000 compensatory damages to his wife and a further $1.5 million to cover punitive damages.
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