Jury awards Miss. man $7.6M over lung disease

Posted November 12, 2009 The Clarion Post   A Warren County jury has awarded $7.6 million to a former sandblaster who developed severe silicosis.    The verdict is the first silicosis case to go to a jury in Mississippi.    Robert Eastman sandblasted for about 25 years at Marathon Letourneau in Vicksburg and used Mississippi Valley Silica Co. Inc.’s sand from 1963 until 1978, according to his lawsuit.    “Mr. Eastman suffers from progressive pulmonary massive fibrosis as a result of severe silicosis,” said Tim Porter, one of Eastman’s attorneys. “There was substantial proof put before the jury that Mississippi Valley Silica Co. Inc. knew that using sand while while abrasive blasting caused the incurable, deadly progressive disease silicosis.”    Mississippi Valley Silica is expected to appeal.    Silicosis is an incurable, sometimes fatal lung disease caused by inhalation of silica, the primary ingredient in sand and most rocks.

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