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40 Year Old Man Awarded $27M in Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawsuit

January 24, 2014

Cleveland, OH: Forty-year old John Panza, an English professor at Cuyahoga Community College and drummer with a popular Cleveland rock trio, Blaka Watra, has been awarded $27.5 million in settlement of his asbestos mesothelioma lawsuit. The settlement is reportedly the largest award of its kind ever in Ohio.

Panza was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2012, resulting from prolonged second-hand or take home exposure to clothing worn by his father, who picked up the asbestos dust at his job at the Eaton Airflex brake company. John Panza Sr., 52, died of lung cancer in 1994. He had worked at Airflex for 31 years, and previously served as president of the company' union.

The asbestos brake pads were manufactured by the former National Friction Products Corp. John Jr. and his wife Jane, filed suit against Kelsey-Hayes Co., the Michigan-based successor to National Friction Products, and the lone remaining defendant at the time of the verdict, returned December 18, 2013.

The verdict breaks down the settlement as economic damages of $515,000 and $12 million in non-economic damages. The jury also awarded Jane Panza, who is just 37, $15 million for her loss of consortium claim, or the deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship due to her husband' asbestos mesothelioma.

The eight-member jury attributed 60 percent of the liability to Kelsey-Hayes, finding that the company' brake products were defective and primarily responsible for causing Panza' cancer.

The Panza' testimony was emotional, according to the judge. The couple went to high school and attended college together They have a 6-year-old daughter.

Attorneys Gary Paul and Demetrios Zacharopoulos, from Waters & Kraus, LLP, were lead trial counsel for the Panzas.

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