Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett wins award for mesothelioma victim’s widow
A St. Louis jury has awarded $4.1 million in damages to the widow of an electrician fromWestfield, Wisconsin, who died of complications from mesothelioma, a deadly lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
Longtime electrician Keith Urbach died in 2012, about six months after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Jurors in the 22ndJudicial Circuit Court returned their verdict Jan. 25 following a one-week trial and nine hours of deliberations. They found that The Okonite Company of Ramsey, New Jersey, was 5 percent liable for Mr. Urbach’s death. Trial testimony showed that he worked with a fixture wire manufactured by Okonite that contained asbestos.
The case is Jean Urbach v. The Okonite Company, No. 1122-CC-10636.
Mr. Urbach worked as an electrician from 1963-2002 for several employers in Wisconsin and Illinois. His death so soon after diagnosis limited his attorneys’ ability to produce evidence of Mr. Urbach’s exposure to asbestos, although they were able to find co-workers who could testify that he had several possible sources of exposure, including through Okonite’s fixture wire, said Jay Stuemke, attorney for the family and a shareholder in Dallas-based Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett P.C.
Jurors determined that other companies were liable for the other 95 percent of his exposure. Notably, jurors assigned no responsibility to Mr. Urbach.