Former Drywaller Awarded $1.8 Million for Exposure to Calidria-Containing Product

December 10, 2002 – Media Coverage

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury has awarded $1. 8 million to a 52-year-old drywall worker in what is believed to be the first case in which damages have been assessed against Union Carbide for exposure to the company's Calidria product. Lagueux v. Union Carbide Corp., No. 01-10781 (Fla. Cir. Ct., Broward Cty.).

The Broward County Circuit Court jury deliberated three hours Dec. 4 before returning with the verdict, which included $36,000 for past suffering and $1.76 million for anticipated future pain and suffering. Union Carbide had offered $1,500 to settle the case, according to a statement issued by counsel for plaintiff Yves Lagueux.

Lagueux claimed in a lawsuit he filed against Union Carbide and several others that he was exposed to a Calidria-containing drywall joint compound manufactured by Georgia-Pacific Corp. during the 1970s.

He was diagnosed with asbestosis in August 2000 after working with the asbestos-containing drywall paint since he emigrated to the United States from Canada more than 35 years earlier. Lagueux claimed he was exposed to the product while working as a finisher in Connecticut, and later in Florida. During his tenure, he often applied the compound between the sections of drywall, then sanded the product after it hardened.

Lagueux was also suffering from histoplasmosis, a fungal lung infection believed to be caused by exposure to dust from bird droppings to which he was exposed while working on a farm in his native Quebec before moving to the United States.

Dr. Alvin Shoenfeld, a pulmonologist from Chicago, testified that Lagueux suffered from asbestosis, as well as the fungal infection.

The defendant argued that Lagueux's injury was the result of his histoplasmosis and sarcoidiosis. Testifying on their behalf were Allen Feingold, M.D., pulmonologist, of Miami, Lee Sider, M.D., a radiologist from New York, and Thomas Howard, Ph.D., state of the art, from Vierra Beach, Fla.

The plaintiff was represented by David A. Jagolinzer of Ferraro & Associates in Miami and John A. Sivinski and Lori A. Luka of Kelley & Ferraro in Cleveland.

Union Carbide was represented by Evelyn Fletcher Davis of Hawkins Parnell & Young in Atlanta and Lawrie Demerost and Ronald Reid of Alston & Bird in Atlanta.

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