R.T. Vanderbilt Company, Inc., v. Galliher, et al.Annotate this Case
Defendant-appellant-cross-appellee R.T. Vanderbilt Company, Inc. appealed a Superior Court judgment on a jury verdict of $2,864,583.33 plus interest to Plaintiff-appellees-cross-appellant Darcel Galliher, individually and on behalf of the Estate of Michael Galliher. The decedent, Michael Galliher, contracted and died from mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos or asbestiform material while employed by Borg Warner at a bathroom fixtures facility. Vanderbilt provided industrial talc to Borg Warner, which was alleged to be the source of the substance that caused Michael's illness. At trial, Vanderbilt denied causation and claimed that Borg Warner was responsible because it did not operate the facility in a manner that was safe for employees like Michael. Vanderbilt argued: (1) the trial court erred when it failed to instruct the jury on the duty of care required of Borg Warner, as Michael's employer; and (2) the trial court erred when it failed to grant a new trial based on the admission of unreliable and inflammatory evidence that previously was ruled inadmissible. Galliher argued on cross-appeal that the trial court erred as a matter of law when it disallowed post-judgment interest for a certain period of months. The Supreme Court found that the trial court erred when it failed to provide any instruction to the jury on Borg Warner's duty of care to Michael, despite Vanderbilt's request that it do so. The trial court also abused its discretion when it denied Vanderbilt's motion for a new trial based upon the substantial prejudice resulting from the admission of evidence, not subject to cross-examination, that it had engaged in criminal conduct. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment and remanded for a new trial.