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THREE CORPORATE GIANTS HIT WITH PUNITIVE DAMAGES IN RECORD-SIZED ASBESTOS TRIAL

 PASCAGOULA, Miss., Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- In the largest-ever trial of its kind, a civil jury in Mississippi late yesterday found three corporate giants guilty of wrongfully distributing products containing asbestos and ordered the companies to pay damages and penalties that could total hundreds of millions of dollars.
 Westinghouse Electric Corporation (NYSE: WX), Dresser Industries (NYSE: DI), and Australian-based Colonial Sugar Refinery, Ltd., were held liable for intentionally and maliciously distributing defective, asbestos-bearing products.
 A fourth company, Uniroyal, was also found to have distributed defective products, but because the company settled with the plaintiffs during the trial the verdict will not apply to it.
 The trial, a consolidation of 9,600 individual asbestos-exposure lawsuits, began four and a half months ago.
 "This is the largest consolidated products-liability case ever tried in the United States," said Ronald L. Motley, who led the legal team for the plaintiffs. "And this is the first time these global Fortune 500 companies have ever been penalized with punitive damage awards," he said.
 Tomorrow the jury will begin hearing evidence to determine the actual size of the punitive awards. A multiplier number will be fixed by the jury, which will then be applied on a case by case basis to each of the 9,600 suits. In each case where exposure and health damage is found to have occurred, the court will determine actual damages and the multiplier will then be applied to arrive at the punitive award.
 In today's ruling, the jury found that actual damages for six representative plaintiffs whose cases were under consideration totaled $9.26 million. Three other representative plaintiffs were found not to be eligible for compensation.
 The jury also found five smaller defendant companies not guilty. Four of the companies were distributors of products and one was a manufacturer of protective clothing.
 Until today the largest consolidated products-liability case was an asbestos trial held last year in Baltimore. Motley was the plaintiffs' attorney in that case as well. His firm, Ness, Motley, Loadholt, Richardson & Poole, is located in Charleston, S.C.
 -0- 8/6/93
 /CONTACT: Laura Norris, 601-769-1414, or Jim Monroe, 202-223-8700, both for the plaintiffs/
 (WX DI)


CO: Westinghouse Electric Corporation; Dresser Industries; Colonial
 Sugar Refinery, Ltd.; Uniroyal ST: Mississippi IN: SU:


MH-KD -- DC006 -- 0293 08/06/93 11:43 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 6, 1993
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