Family of Former Camas Paper Mill Worker Receives Record $16.67 Million Verdict in Mesothelioma Case Against Scapa Waycross, According to Schroeter Goldmark & Bender
A King County Superior Court jury recently returned a record-setting $16.67 million verdict in favor of the family of Kevan Holdsworth, who in 2019 died of mesothelioma caused in part by exposure to asbestos from products sold by Scapa Waycross Inc. The verdict against Scapa, rendered on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, is the largest verdict in an asbestos case tried in King County and the second largest in the state.
Mr. Holdsworth's widow, Sherrie Holdsworth, brought the case against defendant Scapa, which sold asbestos-containing "dryer felts" used in the papermaking industry until the late 1970s. Scapa sold its products to the paper mill in Camas, Washington, where Mr. Holdsworth worked from 1964 to 2001.
According to court documents, despite ample notice of the hazards of asbestos, Scapa never tested its products for asbestos release, never investigated potential asbestos hazards associated with its products, never issued any asbestos-related warning, and never labeled its products as containing asbestos - all of which contributed to Mr. Holdsworth's death at the age of 73.
"Kevan Holdsworth's life was unnecessarily cut short by a terribly cruel disease caused by Scapa's failure to protect the hardworking individuals who, year after year, came in close contact with its hazardous products," said attorney for the Holdsworth family, Tom Breen of Schroeter Goldmark & Bender. "Kevan was a kind, humble and sweet man. He left us far too soon. We are so pleased to have been able to pursue this case on his behalf."
Mr. Holdsworth grew up in Washougal, a suburb of Vancouver, Washingon, and began working at the paper mill in Camas shortly after his high school graduation in 1964. From 1970 to 1976, Mr. Holdsworth worked on the mill's paper machine clean-up crew, which required him to clean the paper machines, including Scapa's asbestos-containing dryer felts, with compressed air.
"Scapa manufactured and sold dangerous asbestos-containing products for many years, and it has now adopted a 'no settlement' litigation strategy, meaning costly litigation is the only way to get accountability. If Scapa had exerted the same sort of effort to investigate the dangers of its products that it now spends fighting lawsuits, Kevan Holdsworth might still be alive. We're grateful the Holdsworths insisted on seeing this case through, and we think the verdict constitutes a clear statement that they were wronged," said Schroeter Goldmark & Bender attorney Luke Garrett.
After a four-week trial, held virtually via Zoom, the jury in the Holdsworth case returned its verdict in less than a day, finding Scapa negligent and Scapa's products not reasonably safe as designed and not reasonably safe for lack of warnings, according to court filings.
"Kevan was an incredible man who spent his life putting others before himself. Those who knew him knew his generosity and sense of humor and deep love for the Seahawks - and countless other things that I miss every single day," said Sherrie Holdsworth. "I'm grateful for SGB's work to ensure Kevan's legacy continues, and to hold companies accountable for their negligence in preventing this horrible illness."
The Holdsworths met in 7th grade and dated in high school, but it wasn't until the two reconnected in their 30s that they were married. After Mr. Holdsworth's retirement in 2001, the two moved to Surprise, Ariz., where they continued cheering for the Seahawks until his death in 2019.
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