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We are excited to announce a recent victory by Attorneys Brian Kenney and Chris Meisenkothen of Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney & Meisenkothen on behalf of Hannibal Saldibar, a career tile setter from New Haven, Connecticut. Mr. Saldibar regrettably passed away in January 2010 from Mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer.
The case [Gail Acquarulo, Executrix of the Estate of Hannibal Saldibar, Et al. vs. Tile Council of North America, Inc., F/K/A Tile Council of America, CV 09-5024498] was a case of first impression against the Defendant Tile Council in the country. This case was notably distinct from other product liability lawsuits in that the Tile Council did not manufacture the product but rather researched, designed, patented, formulated, licensed, marketed, advertised, inspected and made a profit from the sale of tiles using its asbestos-containing formula.
The Tile Council of America is a trade association made up of ceramic tile manufacturers who designed and developed dry set mortar formulas containing asbestos. Although the Tile Council did not actually make dry set mortar, it received royalties for each bag of dry set mortar sold; had oversight and control over the manufacture of the product; and advertised these products as Tile Council products. Because the Tile Council formulas were confidential, workers like Mr. Saldibar did not know asbestos was in the tile product; similarly, workers like Mr. Saldibar did not know that breathing the dust created when working with the defendant’s product could be hazardous and potentially life-threatening.
After a jury trial, on May 22, 2012, the jury was presented with evidence which showed that the Tile Council knew asbestos was dangerous and failed to warn. The evidence also showed that non-asbestos alternatives were available, however, the Tile Council did not rush these products to market for use.
Mr. Saldibar was awarded in excess of Two Million Dollars against the Tile Council.