Processing Magazine

Union Carbide $322 Million Asbestos Verdict Put on Hold

July 14, 2011

According to Bloomberg, a $322 million jury verdict against Dow Chemical’s Union Carbide unit and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. was put on hold while the Mississippi Supreme Court considers whether the trial judge should be disqualified. Union Carbide claims Circuit Court Judge Eddie Bowen, who presided in the Raleigh, Mississippi, trial over a former oil worker’s claim he was sickened by asbestos, should have bowed out of the case because the judge’s father suffered from asbestosis, a disease caused by the mineral. Union Carbide said the companies were denied a fair trial. The May 4 award is the largest ever made to a single asbestos case plaintiff, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A state punitive-damages cap would erase at least $260 million. The Mississippi court stopped proceedings in the case in an order signed by Chief Justice William L. Waller Jr. The ruling means the award won’t be enforced until the allegations are resolved.