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$1M Asbestos Award Upheld

May 21, 2002 | AP

A Wisconsin state appeals court on Tuesday upheld a $1.05 million award to a woman whose husband died of cancer that a jury found was caused by workplace asbestos.

Mary Anderson of Franklin sued Combustion Engineering, a U.S. unit of Swiss industrial group ABB AG, and several other companies over her husband Jerold Anderson's May 1998 death at age 68.

Jerold Anderson worked for 39 years as a machinist for Wisconsin Electric Power Co. and was diagnosed with cancer of the lining of the lung.

A Milwaukee County Circuit Court jury said Combustion Engineering was partly to blame. The company supplied boiler insulation containing asbestos to Wisconsin Electric.

Combustion Engineering, based in Windsor, Conn., was the lone remaining defendant, since others were dropped from the case or settled before trial. It appealed had appealed the November 2000 jury award, saying there wasn't enough evidence linking the asbestos in its boilers to Anderson's illness.

But the 1st District Court of Appeals said in its decision that the type of fiber found in Combustion Engineering's boilers "was also found in astounding numbers in Anderson's lungs."

Asbestos is a natural mineral fiber widely used in buildings until the 1970s, when it was found that it could cause certain illnesses. ABB acquired Combustion Engineering in 1990.

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