Mississippi (Mesothelioma News) -? In a closely watched asbestos lawsuit in Mississippi, a jury awarded a former oil worker more than $15 million on April 7, finding a division of the ConocoPhillips Company responsible for the man’s crippling lung disease.
Troy Lofton, 71, had been diagnosed in 2004 with asbestosis, a condition that causes the lungs to lose their elasticity, filling them with scar tissue and making it difficult to breathe. Victims are at an increased risk for lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of the protective lining that covers many of the body’s organs. Lofton-a long-time employee of the oil and well-drilling industry-remains on oxygen 24 hours a day.
Asbestosis has long been linked to intense or long-term exposure to asbestos, particularly airborne asbestos fibers. Diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma can develop up to four decades after exposure, and their prognosis is often grim.
The $15.2 million verdict came after an eight-day trial in Jones County Circuit Court. During the litigation, Lofton’s lawyers with Sullivan & Sullivan succeeded in showing that the ConocoPhillips division in this case, CP Chem, had for 20 years knowingly shipped a product that contained asbestos. That product-called Flosal-was poured from 50-pound sacks into a hopper, where it was mixed. The process enveloped Lofton and other workers with asbestos dust.
“There’s no way the body expels those asbestos fibers, because they are so tiny,” said J. Robert Sullivan, one of Lofton’s attorneys, who also successfully proved that ConocoPhillips and CP Chem had information that Flosal was harmful-yet continued to ship and sell it to oil well sites into the mid-1980s.
More than 700 other asbestos lawsuits involving oilfield workers who developed lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis after handling products made by ConocoPhillips or its subsidiaries are pending.
This news reported by the asbestos and mesothelioma trial lawyers at Cooney & Conway, a nationally recognized firm that has brought recovery-and justice-to victims of asbestos exposure and the deadly diseases it can cause.
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