O-I denies asbestos conspiracy claim

US-based glass manufacturer Owens-Illinois Inc. (O-I) said in mid-March that it is disappointed by a jury verdict assessing more than USD 40 million in damages against it in a case of alleged injuries…

US-based glass manufacturer Owens-Illinois Inc. (O-I) said in mid-March that it is disappointed by a jury verdict assessing more than USD 40 million in damages against it in a case of alleged injuries from asbestos. O-I announced that it will contest the verdict of the jury, which awarded the plaintiff, Charles Gillenwater, a total USD 90 million in damages against O-I and three other companies: Honeywell International Inc., Pneumo Abex and John Crane Inc. Gillenwater, who is said to have contracted mesothelioma (cancer in the lining of the chest or abdomen) while working as a pipe fitter in the 1970s at several locations, including Illinois State University, Bridgestone-Firestone and Eureka Co., accused O-I, Honeywell and Pneumo Abex of conspiring to conceal information about the health risks of asbestos from their employees, customers and others. O-I said in a statement that it “did not conspire with anyone concerning asbestos health hazards, continues to deny these conspiracy claims, and will challenge this verdict, if necessary, in the Illinois Appellate Courts.” “The company has successfully defended its position in similar cases and is confident of a successful outcome in this matter as well,” it said. O-I added that Gillenwater never worked for it or in any of its plants, and that he did not allege that he was exposed to materials containing asbestos made or sold by the company. The verdict assessed USD 40 million in punitive damages against O-I and a part of the USD 9.6 million in compensatory damages imposed on the four companies. According to O-I, the case is not expected to affect its financial outlook for the year.