The Mississippi Supreme Court has affirmed the compensatory damages awarded to a man diagnosed with mesothelioma allegedly caused by workplace exposure to asbestos products, but remanded for a new trial as to punitive damages because the trial court may have made remarks to the jury that affected the award. Union Carbide Corp. v. Nix, No. 2012-CA-01380-SCT (Miss., decided June 5, 2014). Among other matters, the court determined that compliance with an Occupational Safety and Health Administration label warnings standard was not dispositive on whether the warnings were adequate, and it was plausible that the jury decided that the warnings were noncompliant given the subjective nature of the standard—that is, “printed in letters of sufficient size and contrast as to be readily visible and legible.” The ruling upholds a $250,000 compensatory damages verdict against Union Carbide, vacates a $500,000 punitive damages award and the attorney’s fee award, allowing it to be reconsidered if punitive damages are again awarded. The court also refused to disturb the trial court’s imposition of an 8-percent post-judgment interest rate.
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