Ford Hit With $20M Verdict In Missouri Asbestos Trial

Posted by David Siegel on Mar 10, 2022 6:51:20 PM

Trokey closings

CVN screenshot of plaintiff attorney Daniel Blouin delivering his closing argument

St. Louis, MO - A Missouri state court jury returned a $20 million verdict on Thursday in favor of a former mechanic who claimed he developed fatal cancer due to exposure to asbestos in Ford Motor Company’s automotive brakes in the 1960’s.

The jury returned their verdict the same day they heard closing arguments in a trial that began March 1st, awarding $10 million to William “Bill” Trokey and $10 million to his wife Cathy Trokey.

The Trokeys’ attorneys argued that Bill Trokey developed mesothelioma, a fatal form of cancer frequently linked with asbestos exposure, due to his work on Ford’s “drum brakes” as a part-time mechanic from 1960 to 1968.

Ford maintained his exposure was too limited to definitively link to his cancer, and that asbestos from other sources could also have caused his illness.

The $20 million award is the same amount that plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel P. Blouin, based out of Simmons Hanly Conroy’s New York City office, asked for during his closing argument, according to Courtroom View Network's webcast of the trial. 

The full trial, including all expert witness testimony, was webcast and recorded gavel-to-gavel and is available with a subscription to CVN’s online trial video library, which contains numerous asbestos cases from jurisdictions throughout the country among hundreds of other civil trials.


Attorneys for the parties did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Blouin argued that Ford had information during the eight years in question that told them asbestos dust in brake drums posed a serious health risks, but that they failed to provide adequate warnings to the public. He told jurors that Ford’s drum brakes were the only possible source of asbestos exposure that could have caused Trokey’s mesothelioma.

Ford’s attorney, Janika Polk, based out of Kuchler Polk Weiner’s New Orleans office, argued that Trokey’s work as a part-time mechanic meant he did not receive sufficient asbestos exposure to cause his illness, citing scientific studies that concluded even full time mechanics were not at increased risk for developing mesothelioma. She also told jurors Trokey worked with a variety of automotive products and that his illness could not be definitively linked specifically to Ford’s brakes.

The Trokeys' lawsuit originally included numerous industrial and automotive defendants but only Ford remained in the case when it went to trial before St. Louis Judge Christopher McGraugh.

Check out all of the asbestos trials in CVN’s online trial video archive, available to subscribers along with hundreds of other civil jury trials involving a range of practice areas.

The case is captioned William Trokey v. A.W. Chesterton Company, et al., case number 2022-CC10164 in Missouri’s 22nd Judicial Court in St. Louis.

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Topics: Products Liability, Asbestos, automotive, Missouri