A New Jersey Appellate Court recently affirmed an award of $1.6 million dollars in damages for a mesothelioma victim who alleged that his disease was caused by contamination in his father’s line of work. The victim’s father had worked for Whittaker Clark & Daniels Inc., the maker of Old Spice and Desert Flower talcum powder, and the Plaintiff, Steven Kaenzig, claimed that talcum powder brought home on his father’s work clothes was to blame for his mesothelioma. Kaenzig’s lawsuit further alleged that the defendant failed to warn his father of the dangers associated with asbestos and the contaminated talc. The case was heard in 2013, and the damages awarded have now been affirmed on appeal.
New Jersey Mesothelioma Regulations
Under New Jersey law, a plaintiff in a mesothelioma case must first prove that the defendant had a legal duty to warn those exposed to the risk of mesothelioma, which requires proof that the defendant knew of the presence of asbestos and the associated health risk. A plaintiff may also be required to produce samples of the product or substance blamed for causing the case of mesothelioma, as Kaenzig was required to do in this case. A mesothelioma plaintiff’s spouse may also be able to recover damages for loss of consortium, which compensate for loss of the benefits of a family or spousal relationship with the mesothelioma victim. Linda Kaenzig’s compensation for loss of consortium accounted for $200,000 of the $1.6 million damages awarded by the jury here.
New Precedent in NJ Mesothelioma Case
This case was groundbreaking because it confirmed that in New Jersey, a mesothelioma plaintiff need not have been working directly with asbestos-containing material in order to be awarded damages to compensate for this tragic illness and its effects on the victim’s life. Instead, a victim indirectly affected by his proximity to a family member’s line of work, and thus affected second-hand by a defendant’s failure to warn of associated risks, may also recover damages to compensate for mesothelioma.
Although no dollar amount can fully compensate for the life-changing experience of suffering from mesothelioma, New Jersey law aims to ensure that victims of this illness can be compensated as fully as possible for the devastating effects of the illness. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please call us to discuss how we can help you seek maximum damages to compensate you as fairly as possible for the effects of mesothelioma.