In October 2012, a jury in Buffalo, New York, delivered a verdict in the amount of three million dollars to the family of Gerald Suttner. In the fall of 2010, Mr. Sutter, age 76, was diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by his job-related exposure to asbestos-containing products.
Gerald Suttner worked as a pipefitter at the GM Powertrain Facility in Tonawanda, NY for 36 years. Beginning in 1964, Mr. Suttner’s work included repairing valves manufactured by Crane Co. Part of his duties required him to remove and replace asbestos gaskets and packing materials, which created visible dust in his work area. Despite its knowledge of the harmful effects of asbestos since the early 1930s, Crane continued to incorporate asbestos into its products without warning the user of the dangers in handling these products. Mr. Suttner retired in 1997.
After a yearlong battle with mesothelioma, Mr. Suttner passed away on October 31, 2011. He is survived by his wife, three children and eleven grandchildren.
“Mr. Suttner worked hard in order to provide for his family, and he always played by the rules. Born to a single mother and raised by his grandparents, he was determined throughout his life to help other people struggling under difficult circumstances. It appears that this jury sent a strong message to defendant Crane that it, too, should have played by the rules that govern honorable behavior by warning Mr. Suttner about the dangers of handlings its products,” said Michael A. Ponterio, a partner at Lipsitz & Ponterio who, together with Lipsitz & Ponterio attorneys, John P. Comerford and Joseph Kremer, represented Mr. Suttner during this trial.
At the conclusion of the trial, the jury assigned four percent of the responsibility for Mr. Suttner’s injuries to defendant Crane and the remaining percentages of responsibility to other defendants, including those settling before trial.