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Baltimore jury awards more than $15 million as compensation to families of asbestos victims

A Baltimore Circuit Court jury awarded more than $15 million in compensatory damages yesterday to the families of three asbestos victims who died and a fourth who is terminally ill.

The three-month trial found the companies -- including Owens-Corning Fiberglas and Porter-Hayden Co. -- negligent and liable for failing to warn workers about the potential health hazards posed by exposure to asbestos fibers.

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The verdicts were the latest in a series of asbestos cases brought by Baltimore Orioles owner and attorney Peter G. Angelos' law firm and others. The plaintiffs from yesterday's cases all suffered or suffer from asbestos-related mesothelioma, cancer of the lining of the lungs that eventually leads to death. They were:

* Nick Zumas, a 69-year-old Baltimore man who fatally shot himself May 7 after suffering from mesothelioma for eight months.

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* Patrick McCaffery, who worked at Bethlehem Steel's shipyard.

* John Grimshaw, who died at 78. He also worked for the Sparrows Point steelmaker.

* Marie Gransky, 47, who contracted the disease by breathing asbestos fibers carried into her Norfolk, Va., home by a relative who worked for a company that used asbestos.


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