Asbestos Blues

Asbestos Blues

The insurance industry will find no insulation from liability in the 86,000 pending asbestos cases, if a major decision in Baltimore, Maryland, is a guide. A jury in the largest such trial in American history ruled that four U.S. companies will have to pay punitive damages of up to 2 1/2 times their share of compensatory -- or actual -- damages. Translated, that could mean more than $1 billion in payouts for GAF, the Keene Corp., Pittsburgh Corning and Porter Hayden Co., and their insurers.

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