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JAMES J. & LOIS HUGHES v. GAF CORPORATION (06/16/87)

filed: June 16, 1987.

JAMES J. & LOIS HUGHES
v.
GAF CORPORATION, ET AL. APPEAL OF GAF CORPORATION. JAMES HUGHES AND LOIS HUGHES, HIS WIFE, APPELLANTS, V. GAF CORPORATION, PACOR, INC., AMATEX CORPORATION V. KEENE INDUSTRIAL INSULATION, ET AL.



APPEAL FROM THE JUDGMENT ENTERED APRIL 23, 1986 IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF PHILADELPHIA COUNTY, CIVIL NO. 3451 (50) MAY TERM 1976

COUNSEL

Martin Greitzer, Philadelphia, for GAF Corp., appellant (at 1452) and appellee (at 1521).

Stuart Agins, Philadelphia, for Hughes, appellants at (1521) and appellees (at 1452).

Cirillo, President Judge, and Tamilia and Cercone, JJ.

Author: Cirillo

[ 364 Pa. Super. Page 312]

In 1976, appellee James Hughes brought suit against various asbestos manufacturers for personal injuries allegedly caused by exposure to asbestos products. Lois Hughes, his wife, joined in the suit claiming loss of consortium. After a non-jury trial in 1984, a jury trial de novo was held before Judge Caesar of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The jury returned a verdict of $284,975 for James Hughes and $10,200 for Lois Hughes against defendants

[ 364 Pa. Super. Page 313]

GAF, Eagle-Picher, Keene, Owens-Corning Fiberglass, and Pittsburgh Corning. Since all of the companies except GAF had settled prior to the trial, Judge Caesar molded the verdict against GAF to the amount of $56,995 in favor of James Hughes and $2,040 in favor of Lois Hughes. Delay damages of 10% per annum from October 15, 1979 to September 17, 1984 were added to the verdict. Both plaintiffs and defendant GAF Corporation filed appeals.

James Hughes worked as a pipe insulator and coverer at the Atlantic Refinery from 1947 to 1962, at Allied Chemical from 1962 to 1965, and at the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard from 1965 to 1975. He was exposed to the asbestos products of a number of manufacturers, including the appellant GAF.

After James Hughes left his job with disability pay, he worked briefly as an armored truck agent. He found, however, that he was physically unable to continue in this position. At trial he asserted that the disability caused by his exposure to asbestos prevented him from doing any work which he would otherwise be qualified to do. Furthermore, Hughes claimed that he became depressed because of his inability to work and because of his fear of cancer. He attributed his increased consumption of alcohol to this depression. These psychological problems along with the sleep problems created by his physical illness caused his marital relationship to deteriorate.

On appeal, GAF raises the following issues: (1) whether failure of a juror to truthfully answer a question during voir dire resulted in a tainted jury requiring a new trial; (2) whether the trial judge erred in not permitting cross-examination of plaintiffs on their complaint nor allowing plaintiffs' counsel's correspondence to be used as an admission; (3) whether the trial judge erred in failing to grant a continuance regarding a duly subpoenaed witness who failed to appear, and in failing to permit the use of the deposition of an unavailable witness; (4) whether the trial judge erred in permitting plaintiff's medical expert to testify beyond the scope of his report and in limiting examination

[ 364 Pa. Super. Page 314]

    of the medical experts; (5) whether the trial judge erred in striking plaintiff's testimony, failing to permit further questioning, permitting examination regarding fear of cancer, and allowing improper rebuttal evidence; (6) whether plaintiffs failed to prove damages and mitigation and the trial judge improperly instructed the jury on these issues; (7) whether the trial judge erred in failing to grant defendant's motion for a directed verdict; (8) whether the trial judge erred in excluding additional defendants from the verdict sheet when there was sufficient evidence to include them, and in failing to find liability as a matter of law; and (9) whether the ...


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