Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation wasn’t very happy about the $9 million verdict decided against them and in favor of a Florida man who worked as a former benefits adviser, which happened earlier this year. They were even more angry and disappointed when a Florida appeals court upheld that verdict back in August.
Now, the maker of aerospace and defense technology systems, aircraft, and more has asked a Florida Supreme Court to hear their challenge in the case, which involved a hard-working benefits advisor who died of asbestos-caused mesothelioma due to exposure at two Northrop Grumman facilities.
“Northrop Grumman has filed a notice that it will appeal a decision last month by the 3rd District Court of Appeal upholding the verdict against the company,” noted documents posted earlier this week on the Supreme Court website.
The case was filed by Dennis Britt, who has since died, alleging that he was exposed to asbestos while working onsite at two company locations. (He was not a Northrop Grumman employee.)
As part of his job, Britt would visit a variety of industrial and commercial sites in order to enroll workers in the benefits program he pitched.
His lawsuit claimed that he was exposed to asbestos fibers at the Northrop Grumman facilities in Bethpage, New York and Hawthorne, California, which he apparently visited often between 1978 and 1985.
Mr. Britt was able to testify at the first trial but then passed away before it was settled, leaving his widow, Rosa-Maria Britt, to complete the task of bringing the high-tech company to justice.
A Miami-Dade County jury awarded her $8.5 million in compensatory damages and his estate $519,265 in medical and funeral expenses during that trial.
When Northrop Grumman appealed, claiming that Britt’s attorneys failed to establish the amounts of asbestos Britt inhaled at their plants, the appellate judge wrote the following in favor of upholding the original verdict:
“Having failed to monitor and quantify airborne asbestos levels at Northrop’s plants during the applicable years, Northrop is hardly in a position to demand precise quantification. …
On such a record, the pathology and medical records reflecting the existence and level of asbestos fibers in Mr. Britt’s lungs, coupled with his personal testimony regarding his visits to the premises and what he observed while there — followed by his undisputed death from mesothelioma — constitutes competent, substantial evidence supporting the verdict,” said the ruling, written by appeals-court Judge Vance Salter and judges Richard Suarez and Robert Luck.
It will take some time for the Florida Supreme Court to determine whether or not they will accept the case.