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Judge Overturns $5.6M Award in Asbestos Case

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A couple's $5.6 million judgment in an asbestos liability case was wiped away by a California appeals court.

Edward and Carol Walton won their case for negligence and strict liability over the William Powell Co. The Waltons had contended that Edward had contracted lung cancer from asbestos-laden materials associated with valves that were made by Powell.

Walton worked with the materials during his service in the Navy from 1946 to 1968.

He spent the next 31 years running a painting company, during which time he also worked with asbestos-laden products.

The Waltons sued 46 defendants, but Powell was the only one remaining by the middle of the trial, and the only one ordered to pay the $5.6 million judgment.

On appeal, Justice Nora Manella ruled that Powell was not liable for Walton's injuries, and overturned the award.

She ruled that Edward was injured by the asbestos insulation around Powell's valves, not by the valves themselves.

"Powell supplied none of the asbestos products to which Edwards was exposed, and its valves had no defect rendering Powell liable for the injuries that Walton may have sustained through exposure to asbestos products from other sources," she wrote.

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