Jury Returns $4.5 Million Verdict in Minnesota Living Mesothelioma Case: Humphreys and Jensen v. 3M, et al., Ramsey County Case File No. 62-CV-13-7709
On October 22, 2014, after a two-week trial, a Ramsey County jury returned a verdict in favor of 75-year-old plaintiff Neil Humphreys and his wife Lona Jensen. Plaintiffs alleged that Humphreys was exposed to Owens-Illinois’ Kaylo insulation and Mundet asbestos cement during his three-month employment in 1957 with insulation contractor API on the new construction of a power plant.
Trial began on October 6, 2014 against defendants Smith-Sharpe Company and Owens-Illinois. Smith-Sharpe was represented by Lind, Jensen, Sullivan & Peterson, P.A. attorneys Tom Jensen and Jason Prochnow. Jensen and Prochnow secured a dismissal for Smith-Sharpe on the second day of trial. Trial continued against Owens-Illinois, which defended the case by arguing that Humphreys had misidentified the insulation products, and with a state-of-the-art defense. The jury concluded that Owens-Illinois’ and Mundet’s products were defective due to inadequate warnings, and that API was negligent with respect to the safety of its employees. The jury apportioned fault as follows: 36.5% to Owens-Illinois, 23.5% to Mundet, and 40% to API. The jury awarded Humphreys $856,250 in past damages and $2,756,000 in future damages, and Jensen $904,000 in loss-of-consortium damages.
This is the first plaintiff’s verdict in Minnesota asbestos litigation since 2008, when a jury returned a $4.6 million verdict in favor of plaintiff Dennis Newinski. The Humphreys case is also the first asbestos case to be tried before newly appointed Minnesota Asbestos Litigation trial judge the Honorable John H. Guthmann.