A Big Win for Asbestos Workers

Seven firms are found negligent in a complex Maryland trial

With tens of thousands of asbestos cases pending in U.S. courts, a Maryland judge two years ago sought to ease the backlog by consolidating more than 8,500 claims of negligence and liability. Now the first and most significant phase of the nation's single largest asbestos trial has ended with a big victory for the plaintiffs. After 12 hours of deliberation, a jury found seven companies liable for manufacturing asbestos products that they knew or should have known were dangerous to workers handling them.

Asbestos, a mineral once widely used for insulation and fireproofing, has been linked to fatal respiratory illnesses. The...

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