On July 31, 2001 a Texas jury awarded $6.1 million to a pipe fitter and his wife and found North America Refractories Co. (NARCO) negligent in exposing the man to asbestos dust from its product Narcocast (Joseph Breaux and Deane Breaux v. North American Refractories Co., et al., No. 08271-1, Texas Dist., Dallas Co.).
Joseph Breaux, 55, worked as a pipe fitter and welder at the Avondale Shipyards as well as other oil drilling and industrial sites throughout Louisiana from 1966 to 1973. Diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in August 2000, Breaux sued NARCO and several other asbestos companies, alleging that they were negligent in exposing him to asbestos dust which caused his pulmonary condition. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that can only be caused by exposure to asbestos - it is often called a "signature disease." Generally, a claimant who has the illness does not have to prove a causation element of the claim - it is enough to establish some contact with a product containing asbestos.
In a 12-0 unanimous verdict, a Dallas County District Court jury awarded Joseph and Deane Breaux $6,102,222.38 for injuries Joseph Breaux suffered as a result of his condition and Deane Breaux's loss of consortium. The jury awarded Joseph Breaux $1 million for past physical pain and mental suffering, $1.5 million for future physical pain and mental anguish, $70,000 for past loss of earning capacity, $630,000 for future loss of earning capacity, $100,000 for past disfigurement, $100,000 for past physical impairment, $1.5 million for future physical impairment, $92,222.38 for past medical care and $60,000 for future medical expenses. The jury also awarded Deane Breaux $50,000 for past loss of consortium and $1 million for future loss of consortium.