Jurors returned a verdict of more than $55.5 million late Wednesday for an El Paso man and his family based on a finding that the man's asbestos-related cancer was caused by his exposure to asbestos-containing products manufactured by Kelly-Moore Paint Co. Inc. Jurors returned their verdict after seven hours of deliberations following the three-week trial. San Carlos, California-based Kelly-Moore was the lone remaining defendant in the case.
The plaintiff, Alfredo Hernandez Sr., 47, was employed as a residential construction worker in California in the early to mid 1970's. Evidence in the case showed that Mr. Hernandez was exposed to asbestos while working with Kelly-Moore's PACO joint compound and wall texture products, both of which contained asbestos. The jury found that Kelly Moore's products were the only cause of Mr. Hernandez' asbestos cancer.
Kelly-Moore officials continued to produce the PACO asbestos products for years after discovering its dangers, and could have easily prevented Mr. Hernandez' asbestos-related cancer. The jury of six men and six women learned that Mr. Hernandez was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July of last year following a family vacation in Mexico where he suffered from shortness of breath. Mesothelioma is a fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure. As part of the jury's verdict, Mr. Hernandez' wife, Elizabeth, was awarded $5.515 million and Mr. Hernandez's four children were awarded $14 million. Jurors awarded $15 million in punitive damages against Kelly-Moore.