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Back in June, a jury ruled that three companies were responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of asbestos-laden ceiling tiles and awarded the wife and adult children of a Kansas City man who installed those tiles $4.5 million.

Lead counsel during the trial was Troyce Wolf of Waters Kraus who noted the plaintiff’s win was against long odds and thanked the family and the installer’s co-workers for their courage. The installer, Robert Wagner, died six months after being diagnosed with Mestothelioma and was not able to be deposed for the trial.

While this is another in the long line of stories about workers injured by asbestos, I found it interesting that the defendant companies offered both asbestos and non-asbestos tiles more than 30 years ago. As a relatively young person myself, I just assumed everything was made with asbestos back then.

It’s unfortunate (and ironic, really) that in the process of trying to keep people safe by manufacturing and distributing fire-retardant tiles and other products, corporations were actually injuring thousands of workers who had to work with or around these products (tiles, drywall, insulation, joint compound). Fortunately, products used these days are made with safer materials, and workers’ safety gear such as gloves, masks and clothing have become more protective as well.

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