A federal jury in Cleveland, Ohio found that an Oregon welder suffered serious injuries from exposure to toxic welding fumes. For years, welders have claimed that manganese fumes from welding causes profound damage to the nervous system. The problems appear similar to Parkinson's disease, with brain damage that affects movement and memory.
Approximately 3,000 cases are pending in Cleveland. Previously, the manufacturers had won most cases; however, the multi-million dollar verdict in this case may represent a turning point in the litigation.
In this era of mass-production, when many people are injured by the same misconduct, there seems to be a fairly predictable pattern in litigation. In almost all cases, the company wins the early cases because it is hard for injured consumers to fully investigate and understand what happened. Later cases build upon the early failures, and consumers or workers often break through with a major victory. At that point, it is not unusual for consumers and workers to achieve a critical mass that allows them to establish higher and higher verdict values by repeatedly trying cases for the same injuries.
Perhaps this is victory represents a turning point for welding workers who are seeking justice.
David F. Sugerman
Paul & Sugerman, PC