Plaintiffs Michael and Cindy Burch filed suit against various defendants, including a pipe manufacturer, alleging that Michael Burch developed pleural mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure. After a seven week jury trial, the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded $10 million. In doing so, the jury found that the pipe manufacturer misrepresented and concealed the health risks of handling and working with its product.
The plaintiff cut, drilled, and installed asbestos cement pipe while working for J.C. Plumbing Company and Valley Engineers in the 1970s throughout California. This work was extremely dusty and he breathed this dust daily. The plaintiff presented evidence that the manufacturer knew asbestos caused cancer as early as 1962, but did not warn about cancer hazards on its pipe until 1985. The pipe manufacturer also advertised that its pipe was a “nonharmful use of asbestos.”