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Jury Awards Cancer Patient $55.5M

August 31, 2001

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EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ Jurors awarded $55.5 million to a cancer patient they determined had been exposed to asbestos in the mid-1970s while working in home construction.

Alfredo Hernandez Sr., 47, sued Kelly-Moore Paint Co. alleging the company’s joint compound and wall texture products contained cancer-causing asbestos.

His attorney, Lisa Blue, contended Kelly-Moore continued to make the products even after learning of the potential health risks of asbestos. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined asbestos posed a health risk in the early 1970s.

Calls Thursday to Kelly-Moore’s corporate headquarters in San Carlos, Calif., were referred to a corporate lawyer who didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

Wednesday’s $55 million jury award included $15 million in punitive damages against the company.

Blue said she is concerned that Hernandez, who has lost a lung to cancer, will die before Kelly-Moore exhausts its appeals.

``He’s got a ton of medical bills that the insurance won’t cover,″ she said.

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