This article is from two years ago, about a verdict I got for the family of a mesothelioma victim.  The court of appeal previously affirmed the verdict in this opinion and the Supreme Court denied writs this week, therefore the verdict is final:


Monroe Jury Says Paper Mill Failed to Provide Its Employees With a Safe Workplace

MONROE, La., Aug. 8 /PRNewswire/ — The Baton Rouge-based law firm of LeBlanc & Waddell, LLP, has announced a $4.5 million jury award delivered on behalf of the family of a West Monroe man who died from an asbestos-related cancer in 2000. The jury of three men and nine women delivered the unanimous verdict late last week in the courtroom of James H. Boddie Jr. Jurors deliberated for two hours before finding that Walter Graves Jr.’s employer had failed to provide Mr. Graves with a workplace free of the dangers of asbestos exposure.

“The Graves family could have been saved from this loss had the defendant done the right thing by protecting its employees, including Mr. Graves, from the dangers of asbestos,” says Cameron Waddell, lead counsel for the family. “We are grateful to the jury for holding the defendant accountable for this failure.” Mr. Graves worked for a Monroe-area paper mill from 1943 until his retirement in 1985. His employer, the Brown Paper Mill, was purchased in 1955 by the Olin Corporation, which was later known as Riverwood International Corporation. It is currently known as Graphic Packaging International, Inc. The jury’s verdict totaled $4,539,925.02 in actual damages. Mr. Waddell represented Mr. Graves’ widow, Gertrude Graves, and daughters, LaDonna Graves Hixon and Karen Graves Barron. Other attorneys representing the Graves family at trial were Jody Anderman and Jeff Nicholson.  

Jurors in the case were told how Mr. Graves was exposed to asbestos for decades while working at the paper mill. At no time during his employment did Mr. Graves receive warnings or any information on what precautions to take while working with and around asbestos. The effects of exposure, including the onset of asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, can take decades to surface. Mr. Graves was diagnosed with asbestos-related mesothelioma in April of 2000 and passed away two and a half months later. The defense was represented at trial by Tom Bergstedt of Bergstedt & Mount of Lake Charles, La.

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