A family in Texas was recently awarded millions in damages after a court found that the family’s deceased father had been exposed to asbestos while working at an oil refinery.
The family’s father, Charles Edward Steele, worked as a pipefitter for the Gulf Oil Corporation from 1969 to 1980 at the company’s refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. He died of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, in 2015 at the age of 73.
The family filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that Steele was exposed to asbestos during his time at the refinery and that the company failed to protect him from the hazardous material.
A Jefferson County jury agreed with the family and awarded them $15.7 million in damages. The jury found that the company was negligent in exposing Steele to asbestos and failed to adequately warn him of the hazards.
The award includes $8 million in punitive damages, meaning that the jury found that the company acted in a particularly reckless or negligent manner. The jury also awarded the family $2.5 million in economic damages, $4.9 million in non-economic damages, and $500,000 for Steele’s medical expenses.
The award is a victory for the family and a reminder of the importance of safety in the workplace. All employers have a responsibility to protect their employees from hazardous materials, and this case demonstrates the consequences that can arise when that responsibility is neglected.