A court in Brussels has ruled that the asbestos-cement company, Eternit, was responsible for the death of a woman who lived near their factory in Belgium (see article below in French). The court ordered Eternit to pay the family of Françoise Jonckheere $250,000 Euros. Jonckheere’s husband worked as an engineer at the factory and died of mesothelioma in 1987. Françoise Jonckheere died of mesothelioma in 2000. Before she died, she made her five sons promise to pursue the court case. Until now, Eternit had succeeded in getting other victims to sign settlements which provided compensation on condition that they stay silent. Françoise refused to stay silent.
The decision is a first in Belgium. Eternit is expected to appeal the decision.
In Italy, a decision is expected in February in a first-ever criminal case against Eternit top executives, Stephan Schmidheiny and Jean-Louis Marie Ghislain de Cartier de Marchienne, brought by over 3,000 asbestos victims.
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