Mississippi man wins $31 million in asbestos lawsuit
Jan. 23, 1997
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Owens-Corning Fiberglas. Co. must pay $31 million to a Mississippi man dying of cancer from exposure to asbestos, a jury decided.
Deward Ballard said he would give the money to the Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children in Memphis, Tenn.
``I've only got 12 to 15 months to live, it'll never do me any good,'' he said Tuesday after the verdict was reached. ``They can take my life, but I can support new life.''
The Ohio-based Owens-Corning was expected to appeal the award, the highest in an asbestos-related lawsuit in Florida. The largest previous award in the state was $19 million.
Ballard suffers mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest that has been linked to exposure to asbestos fibers. He previously won $1.8 million in lost wages and past and future medical costs.
Ballard said he was exposed to asbestos while working on powerhouses across the country. He originally filed a lawsuit against 22 companies that mined, manufactured or sold products with asbestos _ including W.R. Grace & Co. of Boca Raton. He settled with all the others except Owens-Corning.