Facts: Plaintiff William Aubin, a home-building contractor, was 57 when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. The cause of the cancer was traced to asbestos exposure, which he initially came into contact with as a high school student. Aubin and his father built nearly 70 homes in Sarasota, and Aubin claimed that he inhaled asbestos by working with products that contained the fiber.

Asbestos was used in spackling paste to fill holes and in the paste used for popcorn ceilings. Aubin's attorneys argued asbestos fibers caused the development of cancerous cells in his lungs and stomach lining. Aubin sued the companies that produced the home-building products he used for negligence and products liability. The defendants included Georgia Pacific LLC, Kaiser Gypsum Co. and Premix Marbletite Manufacturing Co., among others. Aubin's attorneys focused on Union Carbide, which supplied all the other defendants with asbestos.

In the weeks before trial, Aubin discontinued some defendants and reached confidential settlements with several manufacturers including Georgia Pacific, Kaiser Gypsum and Premix Marbletite. The case went to trial against Union Carbide only, but Georgia Pacific, Johns-Manville Corp., Kaiser Gypsum, Philip Carey Corp., Premix Marbletite, Thompson Hayward Chemical Co. and U.S. Gypsum appeared on the verdict sheet as Fabre defendants. Aubin's lawyers argued that Union Carbide had a duty to warn about the asbestos. Despite knowing about the dangers of asbestos since the 1930s, Union Carbide had not placed warnings on any of its products. Aubin's attorneys presented evidence of decades-old internal memos showing Union Carbide's awareness of the dangers of asbestos. Union Carbide policies forced its own employees who handled asbestos to take precautionary steps to shield themselves from exposure. In the 1970s, Union Carbide also dismissed its customers concerns about the safety of asbestos when the public was becoming increasingly aware of its danger.

Union Carbide attorneys argued that the company's soft, fibrous, white chrysotile asbestos did not cause the type of mesothelioma Aubin had. They also argued the company had no duty to place warning labels on its products or warn consumers because the building supply manufacturers had been told about the health concerns. Union Carbide contended that although the company knew exposure to asbestos could cause disease, it did not know how much exposure would be dangerous.

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