Judge Robert Baker, Circuit Judge for Limestone County, Alabama, denied a Motion to Dismiss filed by the Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust (“the Trust”) in a case brought by Cory Watson Attorneys on behalf of the family of a career auto mechanic. The Trust had argued that the terms of one of their foundational documents excluded any potential recovery by a Plaintiff under the Alabama Wrongful Death Act.
The Alabama Wrongful Death Act is different from the wrongful death law of any other state. As a matter of public policy, Alabama has historically taken the position that it is impossible to place a monetary value on an individual human life. Consequently, the damages available to a victim’s family under the Alabama Wrongful Death Act are considered to be punitive damages designed to punish the wrongdoer rather than compensatory damages designed to compensate for the loss of life. Perversely, the Trust tried to use this very distinction that was meant to honor life to deny justice to our clients for the loss of their loved one.
Fortunately, this argument was denied. If the Trust had been allowed to assert such an exclusion, it would have set a dangerous precedent potentially allowing the manufacturers of asbestos products to contract around their liability to Alabama citizens under the Alabama Wrongful Death Act. This ruling represents a victory in the preservation of our rights as citizens of this state.
Although everyone now knows about the dangers of asbestos, the companies that manufactured these products still fight to avoid paying those injured by their products. Cory Watson represents auto mechanics and others exposed to asbestos in the fight for the justice and compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has experienced an injury potentially related to asbestos exposure, we would be honored to discuss the situation with you.