Ford Unable to Avoid Landmark Verdict in Asbestos Trial

On March 3, 2020, the Delaware Superior Court upheld a $40.625 million jury verdict won by the Dalton and Balick law firms, along with co-counsel from New York’s Weitz & Luxenberg, in favor of the Knecht family. The family’s patriarch, Larry Knecht, died of asbestos-caused mesothelioma after a 30-year career working with asbestos-containing brakes. The jury found Ford Motor Company to be 20% liable for Mr. Knecht’s death, leaving Ford responsible for $8.125 million in compensatory damages, as well as an additional $1 million in punitive damages levied for Ford’s reprehensible conduct.

The decision is the latest roadblock in Ford’s ongoing attempts to avoid the verdict. Following a lengthy 16-day trial in 2018, Defendant Ford filed two motions seeking to escape liability. The trial court denied both and issued a detailed opinion supporting the jury’s actions. Ford appealed to the Delaware Supreme Court. In an order issued December 2, 2019, the Supreme Court affirmed the ruling nearly in its entirety. The only exception was that Supreme Court asked that the trial judge re-examine the amount of the verdict – whether $40.625 million was excessive compensation for Mr. Knecht’s asbestos-caused disease and untimely death.

The Superior Court, upon reexamination, upheld the jury’s verdict as fair and just compensation. The Court supported its decision with evidence of Mr. Knecht’s pain and suffering at the hands of this horrible disease, and its effect on his family. The jury is uniquely empowered to fulfill the difficult task of putting a dollar figure on pain, suffering, and indeed a human’s life. The Superior Court found that the jury acted diligently and in good faith in completing its assignment.

Unfortunately, Ford does not seem to believe the saga is over. Ford is expected to again appeal the Superior Court’s most recent decision. The experienced trial and appellate attorneys of Dalton and Balick law firms have already ensured the Knecht family will be compensated, but the final amount remains contested. The Dalton and Balick law firms will continue to fight for the Knecht family, as well as for the hundreds of our other clients who are the victims of asbestos.

If you have been exposed to asbestos, you may have a legal claim.
Please contact Ipek Kurul at