Jury Awards $67.5 Million in Damages to Coal Miners: Defective 3M Respirators Linked to Black Lung Disease

On April 25, a Kentucky jury awarded $67.5 million in damages to two coal miners for their claim that 3M had produced defective respirators that led to their black lung disease. The jury award $62.5 million in punitive damages and the rest was awarded to the brothers, Leslie and Michael Cox, for past and future pain and suffering.

Due to the nature of coal mining, miners are exposed to dust. They are required to wear masks that prevent breathing in dust that is generated during mining. Without a mask, miners risk breathing in coal dust that can cause black lung disease, an incurable disease that stunts breathing and often leads to premature death.

The Cox brothers argued that 3M’s respirators were defective in design because they did not adequately protect the men from black lung disease. The jury ruled the 3M equipment was in a “defective and unreasonably dangerous condition” and agreed with plaintiffs’ argument that no prudent company would have marketed this product for use in mining.

The jury did not assign liability for any of the mining companies that the Cox brothers had worked for. However, the jury did not hold 3M 100 percent accountable. The brothers were found to be at partial fault for their injuries because they both smoked.

GoldenbergLaw is committed to holding corporations accountable for their negligence. The jury ruled that 3M acted with “reckless disregard” for the safety of the Cox brothers and other miners. Contact GoldenbergLaw if you or a loved one contracted black lung disease from mining.


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