South Carolina Jury Awards $32M Following 4-Day Asbestos Trial

Posted by David Siegel on Sep 29, 2021 2:59:35 PM

Frost closings

CVN screenshot of plaintiff attorney Scott Frost delivering his closing argument

Columbia, SC - A South Carolina state court jury has returned a $32 million verdict in favor of a woman alleging she developed a fatal form of cancer due to exposure to asbestos fibers brought home on her husband’s, uncle’s and father’s work clothes.

The jury returned its verdict on Sept. 24 following a relatively brief 4-day trial, in which plaintiff Kathy Lynn Weist’s attorneys argued that defendants Kraft Heinz, a massive food conglomerate, and Metal Masters Inc., a machining company, are responsible for her mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer affecting the lining of the lungs frequently associated with asbestos exposure.

The verdict breaks down to $11 million in compensatory damages against each defendant and an additional $10 million in punitive damages against Kraft. The defendants argued Weist’s cancer could not be definitely linked to materials at their worksites.

Courtroom View Network recorded the full trial gavel-to-gavel, and the proceedings are available on-demand along with hundreds of other civil jury trials in CVN’s online video archive, including numerous asbestos trials. CVN’s coverage includes gavel-to-gavel video of all witness testimony, along with digital images of the exhibits and demonstratives displayed int he courtroom.

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West was represented by Scott Frost of the California-based Frost Law Firm, and by Bonnie Steinwolf and Kush Shulka of the New York-based firm Meirowitz & Wasserberg.

Metal Masters was represented by Alex Cosculluela out of Adam & Reese LLP’s Houston office, and by Kirby D. Shealy III from the firm’s local Columbia, SC office.

Kraft Heinz was represented by Thomas Pope III of the South Carolina-based firm Pope Parker Jenkins.

The trial took place before Chief Justice Jean Toal, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Carolina who has come out of retirement to preside over the state’s consolidated asbestos docket.

Weist’s case marked just the second in-person asbestos jury trial in South Carolina since the pandemic shutdown.

The first trial took place the week prior, also before Chief Justice Toal, and resulted in a defense verdict in favor of heating materials supplier Chromalox.

CVN also recorded that trial gavel-to-gavel, and it too is available to CVN video library subscribers for unlimited on-demand viewing.

The Weist case is captioned Weist v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., case number 2020-CP-40-02597 in South Carolina’s 5th Judicial Circuit.

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Topics: Products Liability, Asbestos, South Carolina