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So how did that defense work out?

The Laurel Leader-Call of Laurel, Miss., has a story about a asbestos trial last week in Smith County, Miss.

Tony Brown, 48, brought claims against Union Carbide Corp. and Chevron Phillips Chem, based on exposure to asbestos. He worked as a roughneck in the Mississippi oilfields in the 1970 and 1980s, mixing drilling mud for rigs. He has been diagnosed with asbestosis and is on oxygen 24 hours a day.

Brown started working in the fields at age 16 and he was unable to read and write. The defendants tried this defense: Since he couldn’t read, he didn’t get the benefits of a Mississippi law requiring companies to warn oil-field workers about the known dangers of asbestos drilling products.

So how did that spin on the statute go over?

Not very well. The jury returned an award of $322 million, the largest single asbestos verdict in U.S. history, according to the Leader-Call. The verdict includes money for future medical expenses, pain and suffering and punitives.

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