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$6.5M Jury Verdict in Iowa Mesothelioma Case against Boiler Maker Weil-McLain

Attorney Jessica Dean of Texas’ Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett Won Justice for Her Clients

Kudos to Jessica Dean and her colleague Kevin Paul of Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC, Dallas, Texas, following their April 25 $6.5 million jury verdict on behalf of their late client Larry Kinseth of Clarion, Iowa.

The defendant, Weil-McLain, was ordered by Judge Stephen Carroll to pay $4 million in compensatory damages to the Estate of Larry Kinseth (including $500,000 to the plaintiff’s wife Shari Kinseth for loss of consortium). Punitive damages in the amount of $2.5 million were allocated to Weil-McLain.

“It was a fantastic result, the highest verdict in the State of Iowa for asbestos,” said Dean, noting she is still angry that it took a month in a courtroom to get resolution for the Kinseth family. “The truth is, cases like this should be resolved without having to go to court.” The case was first filed in 2008.

Some background: Larry Kinseth passed away from mesothelioma in 2008. For more than 34 years, he worked in his family business, Kinseth Heating & Plumbing. He was exposed to asbestos when installing, repairing and ripping out equipment including boilers made and sold by Weil-McLain.

Due to the Iowa Statute of Repose, any liability for repair or removal work on boilers was extinguished.  The jury was allowed only to considered Mr. Kinseth’s exposure from installing Weil-McLain boilers, which involved cutting asbestos rope and mixing asbestos cement to seal sectional boilers.

The jury found Weil-McLain to be one of nearly a dozen companies responsible for Mr. Kinseth’s mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. (Many settled, two filed bankruptcy.) In addition, the jury found that Weil-McLain had displayed a conscious disregard for the rights and safety of others and made a punitive finding to punish or deter Weil-McLain.

Since 2006, Dean has been with Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC, focusing much of her practice on asbestos and mesothelioma cases. When she speaks about the Kinseth trial, Dean admits the case became personal for her. “These people live in a small community where $100,000 would have changed their lives. Weil-McLain refused to settle. They claimed they were not at all responsible. This case was not about money. It was about holding these companies responsible for their actions.

“Larry Kinseth started working at 14. He raised three beautiful kids. He chose to work for a company that repeatedly disregarded every safety rule that exists in the industry. Further, they defiantly said they did nothing wrong when other defendants settled the Kinseth family’s claims. Larry did everything right in his life and paid the ultimate price. This case was about justice.”

It was a unanimous verdict from all eight jurors, who deliberated for a mere three hours, said Dean, before coming back with a guilty verdict. Weil-McLain has 30 days to appeal.

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