Eternit Verdict Due on Monday in Italy Regarding Thousands of Deaths and Injuries of Plant Workers

The Eternit-caused asbestos deaths are to result in a verdict on Monday in Italy. Numerous prior prior posts explain the background – search Eternit. Here is a news video which includes pictures of former Eternit factory operations. Set out below are excerpts from a related news article – the full article is online here. Video is here of plant operations in 1924. And a partisan synopsis is here.

A website devoted to the trial has been ongoing throughout the trial, and portions of the trial have been televised. The verdict will be well-covered by the media with television, real time translations, and streaming video.

On the day after the verdict, various asbestos litigation activists will gather for a press conference, and meeting. They include Barry Castleman, a frequent expert in US cases, and Laurie Kazan-Allen, leader of IBAS and sister of a prominent American plaintiff’s lawyer, Steve Kazan.

Verdict looms in world’s biggest asbestos trial


2012-02-10 10:49




by Gildas Le Roux

ROME, February 10, 2012 (AFP) – A court in northern Italy will rule Monday in the unprecedented trial of a Swiss billionaire and a Belgian baron for over 3,000 alleged asbestos-related deaths.

Stephan Schmidheiny, the former Swiss owner of a company producing Eternit fibre cement, and Jean-Louis Marie Ghislain de Cartier de Marchienne, a major Belgian shareholder, are being tried in their absence and face 20 years in prison.

The allegations concern asbestos production at four Italian facilities and involve employees who worked there as well as people who lived nearby.

Schmidheiny and De Cartier are accused of causing an environmental disaster and failing to comply with safety regulations.

Over 6,000 people are seeking damages in the long-running lawsuit in Turin — the home of auto giant Fiat and Italy’s industrial heartland.

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Eternit went bankrupt six years before asbestos was banned in Italy in 1992.

Prosecutors have requested that the accused — Schmidheiny is now 64 years old and De Cartier 89 — each be sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The crimes carry a maximum 12-year sentence, but prosecutors are seeking a harsher punishment because the fall-out continues to affect victims decades after.

"I have never seen such a tragedy. It affects workers and inhabitants … it continues to cause deaths and will continue to do so for who knows how long," prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello told the court in his closing speech.

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The trial, which began in 2009 in Turin after a five-year investigation, is the biggest of its kind against a multinational for asbestos-related deaths, and victims and relatives hope it will set a precedent.

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Negotiations between Schmidheiny and local authorities in Casale Monferrato for an out-of-court settlement fell through on February 3. The Swiss billionaire had offered the town 18 million euros ($23 million) to drop the case.

#Asbestos

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About Kirk

Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”

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