In South Carolina, a plaintiff seeking justice for secondhand exposure to asbestos was awarded $32 million. In the case of Weist v. The Kraft Heinz Co. et al., plaintiffs claimed that Kathy Lynn Weist had developed mesothelioma because she was exposed to the asbestos fibers brought in on clothes and later passed away from the illness at age 62. Her husband, father, and uncle all worked in places where asbestos fibers settled on their clothes, where anyone around them could have been exposed. Kathy Weist inhaled these fibers, which then settled in vital organs and caused cancerous cells to grow.
Robert Weist, Kathy’s husband, worked at a Louis Rich Co. facility in South Carolina in the 1980s, owned by Kraft Heinz. The premises defendant was Kraft Heinz and the contractor defendant was Metal Masters, Inc. Metal Masters, Inc. supplied asbestos-containing materials used at the facility. The defense claimed that the asbestos exposure was only for 33 days at Louis Rich Co.
The difficult trial lasted for four days. South Carolina does not allow voir dire, and the jury reached a unanimous decision in favor of the plaintiffs.
The jury found the Kraft Heinz Company and Metal Masters, Inc. were both negligent and proximate causes of Kathy Weist’s mesothelioma diagnosis and resulting damages. The jury also found the Kraft Heinz Company to be vicariously liable for the negligent acts of employees, contractors, and agents, which includes Metal Masters, Inc.
The compensation is comprised of $22 million for compensatory damages against Kraft Heinz and Metal Masters Inc., and $10 million in punitive damages against Kraft Heinz. The compensatory damages breaks down to $11 million for Kathy Weist’s survival damages, $10 million for wrongful death damages, and $1 million for Bob Weist’s loss of consortium damages.
Scott Frost of Frost Law Firm, PC, in San Pedro, California was the Lead Trial Counsel. Bonnie Steinwolf and Kush Shukla of Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP in New York were trial co-counsel for the plaintiffs.
Frost Law Firm, PC fights hard for families of mesothelioma victims. We see the damage that negligent companies can do to families and we’re here to hold them accountable. With cases like these, we understand how difficult it can be to get justice, which is why we approach each case with the individual attention it deserves.