After a California jury handed down a substantial $13 million verdict against Hillshire Brands over the company’s role in the plaintiff’s mesothelioma cancer diagnosis, the defendant is now the plaintiff after it sued its insurance carriers over bad faith negotiations related to the asbestos cancer trial it lost. The parent company of Tyson’s Foods and one time owner of the Union Sugar plant west of Santa Maria, California seeks to recover money under its insurance policies with carriers California Casualty Co. and American Home Assurance Company.
Hillshire Brands filed its bad faith lawsuit against its insurers only days after an Alameda County jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs who brought the lawsuit on behalf of their deceased family member who passed away due to mesothelioma. Their lawsuit claimed that he and other townsfolk near the Union Sugar Plant suffered from serious asbestos exposure twice a year when the company operating the plant performed renovations that sent asbestos dust into the air.
Asbestos was once commonly used in many industrial and commercial applications because of its heat resistant properties, including insulation and pipe gaskets. Unfortunately, the flaky white mineral also causes a number of serious health problems, including mesothelioma lung cancer and asbestosis. The condition affects thousands of unsuspecting Americans every year, usually decades after initial exposure.