July 16, 2003 – The first-ever asbestos compensation verdicts against the nation’s welding rods industry were awarded today by a New York jury in a consolidated asbestos trial involving a mesothelioma patient and victim of asbestos-related lung cancer. The verdicts total more than $6.64 Million.

THE FIRST-EVER ASBESTOS COMPENSATION VERDICTS AGAINST THE NATION’S WELDING RODS INDUSTRY WERE AWARDED TODAY BY A NEW YORK JURY IN A CONSOLIDATED ASBESTOS TRIAL INVOLVING A MESOTHELIOMA PATIENT AND VICTIM OF ASBESTOS-RELATED LUNG CANCER. THE VERDICTS TOTAL MORE THAN $6.64 MILLION.

NEW YORK, New York, July 16, 2003 – A New York jury found manufacturers of asbestos-containing welding rods liable for the asbestos cancers of two New York men Daniel Tucker1, who died of mesothelioma at age 57, and Angel Gomez2, who is 57 years of age and dying of asbestos lung cancer.

The asbestos compensation verdicts against the two Ohio-based companies, Lincoln Electric Company (“Lincoln”) and Hobart Brothers Company (“Hobart”), are the first-ever jury verdicts against manufacturers of welding rods for injuries relating to asbestos exposure. Lincoln and Hobart made welding rods that contained asbestos in the outer coating from the 1930s until approximately 1981. Lincoln is a publicly-traded company (NASDAQ: LECO), and Hobart is a subsidiary of a publicly-traded company, Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW).

The jury found that the asbestos-containing welding rods manufactured by Lincoln and Hobart were defective and that both companies were negligent in selling their product without any warning about the hazards of asbestos. The jury also found that Lincoln acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others.

Angel Gomez was born in Cuba and came to the United States in 1962. He resides in Bronx, NY, and has three children and one grandchild. Mr. Gomez was exposed to asbestos from welding rods while working as a welder at a metal shop in Newark, NJ, from 1965 to 1967. The jury awarded Mr. Gomez $2,000,000 in asbestos compensation for past pain and suffering, $1,000,000 for future pain and suffering, and lost wages in the amount of $192,485.20. The jury apportioned 75% of the fault to Lincoln and 25% to Mr. Gomez, who the jury found was negligent in smoking cigarettes for approximately 15 years before quitting in approximately 1980.

Daniel Tucker, who resided in Wappinger Falls, New York, before his death in September of 2002, is survived by seven children and four grandchildren. Mr. Tucker was exposed to asbestos from welding rods while working at Con Edison as a welder and assistant to welders from 1969 up until 1981. The jury awarded Mr. Tucker’s estate $3,000,000 in asbestos compensation for past pain and suffering and lost wages in the amount of $453,358.62. The jury apportioned 50% of the fault to Lincoln and 50% to Hobart.

Mesothelioma lawyer Jerome H. Block from the law firm of Levy Konigsberg LLP who together with attorney Robert I. Komitor, counsel for Mr. Gomez and the Tucker family, commenting on the jury’s “recklessness” finding, noted that, “The jury’s finding that Lincoln Electric acted with reckless disregard for the safety of workers like Mr. Gomez and Mr. Tucker confirms the strength of the evidence in these cases, and confirms the need to have asbestos cases considered by juries. The proposed federal legislation that would force all asbestos claims into a federal fund would under-compensate asbestos victims while providing a windfall to companies like Lincoln Electric that failed in their most basic corporate responsibility protecting human life.”

For over a quarter of a century, mesothelioma lawyers at Levy Konigsberg LLP have been among the pioneers of asbestos litigation in America. The firm’s attorneys have been recognized as nationwide leaders in representing the rights of mesothelioma victims and their families. Their clients have received some of the largest mesothelioma compensation verdicts in the country.

For more information about this or other mesothelioma lawsuits, please contact Levy Konigsberg LLP at (800) 315-3806 or 1-800-MESO-LAW (1-800-637-6529), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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