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Alton law firm wins $20 million verdict against Ford

Alton-based Simmons Hanly Conroy won a $20 million verdict against Ford Motor Co. on behalf of a Missouri resident who was diagnosed in 2020 with mesothelioma, a rare and fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure, the firm said.

William “Bill” Trokey was exposed to asbestos starting in high school during the 1960s while working at a service station in St. Louis. He suffered repeated asbestos exposures to the toxic dust while servicing asbestos-containing brakes manufactured by Ford Motor Company. The jury found that Ford failed to warn Trokey about the dangers of asbestos and awarded him $10 million in compensatory damages and $10 million to his wife, Cathy, for loss of consortium.

“After examining hundreds of pieces of evidence, the jury found that Ford failed to warn Bill when he was a hard working young man about the dangers of asbestos in brakes,” said Shareholder Daniel P. Blouin, who served as lead trial attorney. “The jury clearly understood that companies must take responsibility for exposing employees and users of their products to asbestos.”

In addition to Blouin, Simmons Hanly Conroy shareholders Andrew S. Williams, Taylor Kerns, Cody Favilla, Shane F. Hampton and attorney Philip E. Proud represented Trokey in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis before Judge Christopher E. McGraugh.

“Bill made all the right choices,” said Blouin. “He worked for his dad’s mechanic shop, served his country in the Army and worked hard for his family. He should be enjoying his retirement with his grandkids, but instead he’s fighting a cancer diagnosis that could have been prevented.”

Trokey served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam in the late 1960s. Afterward, he returned to St. Louis, worked in automotive repairgarages and became a union printer. He worked at a local printing company for over 35 years before retiring in 2004.

He and his wife, Cathy, have 11 grandchildren. Before his cancer diagnosis, Bill spent his time attending grandchildren’s sports games, watching St. Louis Cardinals baseball and going to car shows.

“I lose a little bit of him every day, and every day he loses a little bit of himself,” said Cathy Trokey during her testimony at trial.

The verdict is the ninth mesothelioma verdict Simmons Hanly Conroy has won on behalf of mesothelioma patients in the past five years. Trokey’s trial lasted two weeks, and the jury deliberated for three hours.

The case is William Trokey and Cathy Trokey v. Ford Motor Company, et al., case no. 2022-CC10164 in Missouri’s 22nd Judicial Court in St. Louis.

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