Two former Kentucky coal miners who claimed defective dust masks caused debilitating black-lung disease were awarded $67.5 million in damages in their civil lawsuit.
According to a report Wednesday in the Lexington Herald-Leader, a Knott County jury awarded brothers Leslie and Michael Cox $62.5 million in punitive damages against 3M Co., manufacturer of the allegedly defective mask. The other $5 million is reportedly to compensate the pair for past and future pain and suffering.
The verdict form calls the 3M respirator “defective” and “unreasonably dangerous.”
A 3M representative says the company plans to appeal. The brothers’ attorney did not comment.
Federal officials said black lung disease has caused roughly 78,000 deaths since the late 1960s and there has been a resurgence of it in recent years, especially in eastern Kentucky.