UPDATE: Virginia Supreme Court Issues Game-Changing Decision in Connection with Asbestos-Related Lawsuits

On May 1, 2012, the Supreme Court of Virginia, in John Crane, Inc. v. Hardick, granted the appellees’ petition for rehearing, in which the estate of Robert E. Hardick argued that the Court should look to the Jones Act, rather than DOHSA, and reinstate the jury’s $2 million award of damages for Hardick’s pre-death pain and suffering, an award which the Court unanimously vacated in its March 2, 2012 opinion.  On September 14, 2012, the Supreme Court of Virginia unanimously reversed its earlier opinion with respect to the claim for pain and suffering damages, holding that “while the recovery of nonpecuniary damages is not permitted in actions for the wrongful death of a seaman . . . such damages may be recovered in a general maritime survival action, provided they represent damages suffered during the decedent seaman’s lifetime – as the award of damages for Hardick’s pre-death pain and suffering does in this case.”  The Court thus vacated the $1.15 million award for Mrs. Hardick’s loss of society but affirmed the $2 million award for Hardick’s pain and suffering.

This is an update to our March 19, 2012 article also by Patricia Bugg Turner.

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