The jury in the Rich v. Bingham mesothelioma trial found no liability on the part of the defendants, R.T. Vanderbilt, Kaiser Gypsum, and Union Carbide.
Fred Rich was a mail carrier whose mesothelioma allegedly resulted not from vocational exposure, but from exposure to joint compounds in home improvement products that he allegedly purchased from hardware stores in the 1960’s and 1970’s to repair a recurring crack in the wall of his home.
According to the plaintiff, sanding the joint compound created fine asbestos dust that got into the plaintiff’s lungs, and the defense expert witness, Dr. Victor Roggli, could only find a different type of asbestos was involved by violating his own methodology.
The defendants alleged that the plaintiff’s exposure to these products was not sufficient to cause his current cancer, and that some products were not sold at the stores where the plaintiff claims to have bought them. In addition, the types of asbestos found in the plaintiff’s lung tissue allegedly did not closely match the fiber types used in the products the plaintiff allegedly used.
The jury returned a defense verdict, finding neither negligence nor the the delivery of a defective product by any of the defendants that was the legal cause of Fred Rich’s illness.