Proposal to Limit Mesothelioma-Causing Asbestos Lawsuits Rejected in Virginia
Virginia senators voted 13-2 to defeat the bill that would limit asbestos-related liability for Philadelphia-based Crown Cork & Seal. The company, a beverage packaging firm that invented the bottle cap, has faced hundreds of lawsuits for asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma, related to Mundet, a business Crown Cork purchased in 1963.
The special bill would have limited the cumulative asbestos-related liabilities of successor companies such as Crown Cork to the fair market value of the gross assets of the company being purchased at the time of the merger or consolidation. Since the purchase of Mundet, Crown Cork has been named in more than 300,000 asbestos-related claims and paid $600 million in expenses, according to the Washington Post. Mundet was purchased for only $7 million.
Often called “asbestos cancer,” mesothelioma is highly aggressive and is resistant to many standard cancer treatments. Inhaling microscopic asbestos fibers can lead to the cancer decades later. About 3,000 Americans a year die of asbestos-related respiratory diseases such as mesothelioma.