COLUMBIA, S.C., Feb. 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The South Carolina Court of Appeals has affirmed a $14 million verdict against Texas-based Celanese Corp. (NYSE: CE) on behalf of the family of a maintenance worker who died from mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos on a Celanese job site.
The three-judge panel unanimously affirmed on Feb. 13 a 2015 trial court damages award to Dennis Seay's wife and estate. That court awarded $12 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages after finding negligent safety practices at the Celanese plant where Mr. Seay worked from 1971 to 1980.
Mr. Seay worked for Daniel Construction Co., a maintenance services provider at a Celanese polyester plant in Spartanburg. Mr. Seay and his family sued Celanese in September 2013, a month after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal form of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. He died a year later at age 70.
The suit alleged the company was negligent for failing to warn Mr. Seay of the danger of asbestos found in gaskets, packing and insulation materials at the facility and failing to provide safe working conditions and adequate protections against asbestos dust.
"Celanese was fully aware of the asbestos hazards encountered by contractors like Dennis, yet they had a widespread company policy of concealment that their executives memorialized in a memo," said Simon Greenstone Panatier trial lawyer Chris Panatier. "They stated that any inquiries from employees about hazards should be met with statements by the company that 'emphasize that the data is inconclusive' and that 'exposures were being monitored and controlled below appropriate limits.' It wasn't true, and the jury saw that."
The plaintiffs' appeal was led by Blake Hewitt of Columbia, South Carolina-based Bluestein Thompson Sullivan. The court rejected numerous challenges filed by Celanese, including claims that Mr. Seay was not a statutory employee. The ruling also rejected claims that jurors had engaged in premature deliberations and had considered outside influences in reaching the verdict.
The case is Angela D. Keen et al. v CNA Holdings LLC, Appellate Case No. 2015-001603. The Seay family is represented by Mr. Panatier of Simon Greenstone Panatier PC in Dallas; and John D. Kassel and Theile Branham McVey of Kassel McVey and Mr. Hewitt of Bluestein Thompson Sullivan in Columbia, South Carolina.
Simon Greenstone Panatier, P.C. is a nationally recognized trial law firm with a reputation for creative and aggressive representation of clients in a wide variety of catastrophic personal injury matters. Visit http://www.sgptrial.com/.
SOURCE Simon Greenstone Panatier, P.C.