N.J. Judge Awards $90.5M In Asbestos-Related Damages After Default In 11 Cases Against International Companies

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — (Mealey’s) A New Jersey judge on July 2 awarded $90.5 million in asbestos-related damages against Eternit successors Anova Holding AG and Becon AG after awarding default judgments against the international companies, sources told Mealey Publications (Tuturice v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-2030-10AS, DiTolvo v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-0464-10AS, Durlester v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-9677-08AS, Greene v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-8113-09AS, Ketchem v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-10217-08AS, Koshinsky v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-4059-08AS, Lindsay v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-6858-09AS, Slepokura v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-7717-09AS, Tafil v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-215-09AS, Troth v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-9794-09AS, Upshaw v. Anova Holdings AG, et al., No. MID-L-7638-11AS, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.). 

The plaintiffs each alleged that the defendants sold asbestos to Johns-Manville Corp. and that the resulting exposures caused them to contract mesothelioma, sources said. 

The plaintiffs served the defendants under procedures established by international treaties, sources said.  The defendants did not answer the complaint, sources said.  The plaintiffs then obtained an order for entry of final judgment by default and to schedule a proof hearing on June 7.  

The plaintiffs then served the defendants with notice of the proof hearings through Hague Convention procedures, according to sources. 

Hearing 

Judge Ana C. Viscomi held a hearing on damages starting June 20, 2014.  The hearing concluded June 26 after the plaintiffs called experts Lisa Hyde-Barrett and Eleanor Ericson of Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and pathology, oncology and causation expert James Strauchen of Mt. Sinai in New York. 

The award includes damages for pain and suffering and loss of consortium. 

Anova and Becon are successors to the foreign asbestos giant Eternit’s group of companies.  Eternit mined asbestos primarily in South Africa, which it then sold throughout the world, sources said. 

An Italian court convicted two Eternit executives, family heir Stephen Schmidheiny and Swiss billionaire Baron Louis de Cartier de Marchienne, in 2012 for their roles in the deaths of almost 3,000 people, sources said.  Both Schmidheiny and de Marchienne received a sentence of 16 years in prison. 

Leah Kagan and Moshe Maimon of Levy Konigsberg in New York represent the plaintiffs.

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