Washington Court of Appeals Upholds Record $16.67M Asbestos Verdict
A Washington state appeals court recently upheld a record-setting $16.67 million jury verdict in favor of Sherrie Holdsworth. Mrs. Holdsworth is the widow of Kevan Holdsworth, who died in 2019 of mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos from products sold by Scapa Waycross, Inc. The verdict for Mrs. Holdsworth, who was represented by attorneys Luke Garrett and Tom Breen of Schroeter Goldmark & Bender, is the highest asbestos verdict ever in King County, and the second largest ever in Washington.
In 2019, the Holdsworths brought the case against Scapa, which supplied materials to the paper mill in Camas, Washington, where Kevan Holdsworth worked for nearly 40 years. Scapa manufactured and sold asbestos-containing “dryer felts,” which Holdsworth was responsible for cleaning with compressed air – a task he routinely performed for years. According to court documents, Scapa did not test its products for asbestos release, issue any warnings, or label its products regarding asbestos content.
Following Kevan Holdsworth’s death, in 2021 a King County Superior Court jury ruled in favor of Sherrie Holdsworth, awarding damages of $16.67 million.
Scapa appealed the case to the State of Washington Court of Appeals, Division I and argued that the trial judge should have ruled in Scapa’s favor because Sherrie Holdsworth relied on “pure speculation” in claiming that Scapa’s asbestos-containing dryer felts contributed to her husband’s death.
However, the three-judge appeals court panel decided there was more than sufficient evidence for the trial court to rule in Sherrie Holdsworth’s favor.
“We’re grateful that the appeals court recognized the strength of the evidence against Scapa and preserved the jury’s determination that Kevan and Sherrie were wronged,” said Schroeter Goldmark & Bender attorney Luke Garrett. “Scapa’s asbestos-containing products were proven to have contributed to Kevan’s mesothelioma, and Scapa should be held accountable. We admire Sherrie’s strength and resilience through this process of obtaining justice for her late husband, and while this outcome can’t undo the pain of losing Kevan to mesothelioma, we hope that this case brings some closure to this difficult chapter of their lives.”