A Dow Chemical unit won its bid for a new trial in a case alleging asbestos it made and sold caused a manufacturing plant worker’s fatal mesothelioma.

Toppling a $2.38 million judgment against Dow Chemical Co. unit Union Carbide Corp., a three-judge panel found that a Superior Court judge erroneously instructed the jury that the company couldn’t fulfill its duty to warn Willis Edenfield about the dangers of the substance through the warnings and information it gave to his employer.

The court found that Cochran reasonably took steps to ensure the warnings about the project reached the end user, and that the standard for determining whether a supplier has a duty to directly warn the ultimate product user or can do so through an intermediary was “one of reasonableness in the circumstances.”

Edenfield worked in the mill room of an adhesive manufacturing plant between 1954 and 1994. As a batcher, Edenfield’s job was weighing and preparing dry ingredients for manufacturing. Union Carbide’s asbestos “was regularly used in the manufacturing of adhesive products.”

Edenfield died of mesothelioma in 2011. Later that year, his widow, Thomasenia L. Fowler, filed a lawsuit, asserting wrongful death and product liability claims against Union Carbide and others.

Following a trial that began in December 2018, a jury awarded Edenfield’s estate $2.38 million in damages. Union Carbide unsuccessfully moved for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, which was denied in April 2019.


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