SAN FRANCISCO-A Dallas, Texas-based law firm today announced a $20 million civil verdict in an asbestos lawsuit on behalf of Joan Mahoney, 69-year-old victim of mesothelioma, a painful and debilitating form of cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, and Daniel Mahoney, her husband of 42 years. The jury attributed 30 percent of the $20 million liability to defendant Georgia Pacific Corp.
Attorneys represented Joan and Daniel Mahoney before Judge Thomas Mellon in San Francisco County Superior Court.
Mrs. Mahoney, a San Francisco native, spent much of her career in real estate and show business. Her singing career spanned 30 years and took her around the world seven times on USO tours. But it was her work in the part-time family construction business that exposed Mrs. Mahoney to Georgia Pacific’s asbestos-containing joint compound, the suit established. Together, Mrs. Mahoney and her husband, who was also a math teacher, built and remodeled over 200 houses in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
The evidence at trial showed that Georgia Pacific knew from the moment it entered the asbestos business that asbestos exposure causes disease. Years before the Mahoneys first used Georgia Pacific’s asbestos-containing joint compound, Georgia Pacific knew that its product posed a substantial risk to workers.
Not until the government banned certain uses of asbestos in 1977, after the Consumer Product Safety Commission said that exposure to asbestos-containing joint compound for as little as six hours a day, four times per year could result in thousands of people developing cancer, did Georgia Pacific stop selling asbestos containing joint compound.
The damage caused by asbestos exposure can take decades to surface. Mrs. Mahoney was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2006-35 years after her first exposure to Georgia Pacific’s product. She continues to fight the painful disease that experts say will cause great suffering and eventually kill her.