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Judge Removed in Asbestosis Cancer Case

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Raleigh, MSThe Mississippi Supreme Court granted a request by Dow Chemical Company's Union Carbide unit to disqualify the judge who presided over a recent asbestosis cancer case that ended with a verdict of $322 million against the business, Bloomberg reported.

According to the news outlet, Union Carbide argued that state Circuit Court Judge Eddie Bowen shouldn't have presided over the case due to the fact that his father suffered from asbestosis. This was the same illness that sickened plaintiff Thomas Brown, and it was because of this link that the company claimed it was denied a fair trial.

The court ordered that Bowen be removed and stopped all action on the case until a new judge is appointed, regardless of the status of the verdict that was put forth.

"We find that a reasonable person, knowing all of the circumstances, would harbor doubts about Judge Bowen's impartiality in this particular case," the court said in its decision.

Bowen's father filed two asbestos lawsuits, one of which is still pending, and both of his parents had made a move to settle a claim with Union Carbide based on a diagnosis of asbestosis. The court cited an independent probe by the Dow Chemical unit.

Judy Herrington, an administrator with the circuit court, told Bloomberg that Bowen was unable to comment on the matter due to a statement that he had signed in the Raleigh, Mississippi courthouse.

According to the news outlet, the May 4 award that was originally issued was the largest ever made to a single asbestos case plaintiff. However, a state punitive-damages cap would have erased at least $260 million of the allotment.

Union Carbide said it was pleased with the ruling, and looked forward to the case moving forward with a new judge.

Despite the ruling, which may only temporarily delay the award, asbestosis is a serious disease that can affect a large number of people who are exposed to asbestos.

John Mills, an 81-year-old man from the UK, recently passed away more than 15 years after he had been diagnosed with asbestosis. Although he had the disease, his daughter told the News & Star that he lived a full and active life.

According to the World Health Organization, asbestos-related diseases kill approximately 107,000 people around the world each year.

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