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Mississippi man wins $31 million in asbestos lawsuit

January 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.

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