Juan Bauta and Steven Valdes of The Ferraro Law Firm recently secured a $14,000,000 verdict in the first in-person mesothelioma trial in Florida since the pandemic began in 2020. 

The case, Paula Font, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp, stems from Luis Torres’s exposure to asbestos fibers and subsequent mesothelioma. The lawsuit alleged that Union Carbide supplied the asbestos fibers to non-party Georgia-Pacific LLC for use in joint compound that Mr. Torres used in his work.

Ms. Paula Font, Mr. Torres’s daughter, brought the wrongful death case on behalf of Mr. Torres’s surviving family members. This was the third time the case was tried. A jury in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County initially found for Union Carbide. That decision was affirmed by the Third District Florida Court of Appeal, but the Florida Supreme Court then reversed as a result of that Court recently clarifying the applicable strict liability standard in Aubin v. Union Carbide Corp.

In the first retrial, the jury awarded the plaintiffs $6.93 million and determined that the defendant was 40 percent liable for Mr. Torres’ mesothelioma. The defendant’s subsequent appeal was rejected by the Third Circuit but the court also reversed, determining that certain affidavits submitted by the plaintiff were improperly excluded and that the court did not accurately instruct the jury on the learned intermediary doctrine.

“The Third Restatement of Torts has a lot of controversy about the way it was created,” Bauta explained in an article for Law.com. “Some people say it is not always a survey of what the laws are throughout the 50 states but rather a view of the law as corporate America would like it to be. Some states have adopted the Third Restatement; others have not.”

The decade-long litigation ultimately, however, resulted in a favorable verdict for Ms. Font.

“I never had to retry a case once, let alone twice, let alone a third time. It’s really crazy,” Bauta said. “The biggest takeaway for me has been perseverance. You have to believe in your case and keep plugging away.”

Because of health concerns related to the pandemic, voir dire was conducted over the course of two days, with potential jurors entering the courtroom in shifts. The trial was conducted with all parties wearing masks and practicing social distancing. The trial began on April 12, 2021, and lasted five days.

The Ferraro Law Firm: Skilled Mesothelioma Litigators

The attorneys of The Ferraro Law Firm are aggressive litigators who know how to get our clients the compensation they deserve. We have been representing the rights of injured victims since 1985 and have built a national reputation for our success in cases involving asbestos, mesothelioma, and environmental toxic torts.

We actively work with other lawyers and law firms who are seeking outside assistance with mesothelioma litigation and other matters that may end up in court. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.