Asbestos maker loses appealOwens-Illinois Inc. has...

MARYLAND NEWSWATCH

April 08, 1992

STATE: — Asbestos maker loses appeal

Owens-Illinois Inc. has suffered another setback in its ongoing struggle to shake itself free of asbestos lawsuits.

The Maryland Court of Appeals upheld yesterday most of the damages won against the manufacturer by two former Bethlehem Steel Corp. shipyard employees who suffer from asbestosis, an incurable lung disease.

The state's highest court ruled that Othello Armstrong, 76, of Baltimore, a former welder, and Forrest Wood, 79, of Kissimmee, Fla., a retired rigger, were entitled to compensatory damages.

Owens-Illinois, of Toledo, Ohio, is also one of the defendants in the giant consolidated asbestos trial in Baltimore Circuit Court that involves 8,500 claims. This was a separate case.

In July 1989, a city Circuit Court jury ordered Owens-Illinois and co-defendant Owens-Corning Fiberglas to pay compensatory damages of $730,000 to Mr. Armstrong and $657,000 to Mr. Wood. It also said both men should receive punitive damages. The two companies made asbestos-based materials used by the two workers.

Before the trial proceeded on punitive damages, Owens-Corning settled, agreeing to pay $304,166 to Mr. Armstrong and $410,625 to Mr. Wood. Owens-Illinois did not settle, and the jury ordered it to pay $1 million in punitive damages to each plaintiff.

A Pennsylvania man was killed early today when his truck crashed into a wall near Thurmont in Frederick County.

Police said the victim, William Francis, 24, of the 12100 block of Bayer Drive in Waynesboro, was driving a 1988 GMC truck south on U.S. 15 near Catoctin Hollow Road just south of Thurmont a few minutes past midnight when his truck went out of control on a curve. Mr. Franciswas thrown from the truck into the wall.

Arundel:

A Chicago mobster has pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder nearly $2 million in ill-gotten money from operations in Florida and Illinois through a Brooklyn Park bingo hall.

Dominic P. "Large" Cortina, 67, admitted yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore that he and five others concocted a plan early in 1986 to funnel profits from gambling, loan-sharking, robbery and interstate transportation of stolen property through Bingo World, which Stephen B. Paskind, a Florida bingo operator, was buying.

Prosecutors said in the plea agreement that would recommend a sentence of 38 months, to run concurrently with a 21-month sentence Cortina is to serve for a gambling conviction in Chicago.

Co-defendant Donald J. Angelini, 66, known in Chicago gambling circles as "The Wizard of Odds," had been expected to enter his plea yesterday with Cortina, but he underwent surgery last week.

Baltimore County:

Robert P. Lipinski, 27, of Dundalk, has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Nutri-System sales clerk last June 1 at her store in Towson.

Circuit Court Judge Dana M. Levitz, who called the stabbing of Eugenia Courtalis "senseless" and "horrible," declined to impose life sentence without parole, as the state had requested.

Robin S. Coffin, an assistant state's attorney, said Lipinski must serve 25 years before he'll be eligible for his first parole hearing.

*

The Baltimore County Planning Board will conduct public DTC hearings throughout the month as part of the countywide comprehensive rezoning process. The schedule:

* 3rd District, tomorrow at Dulaney High School, 255 Padonia Road.

* 4th District, April 14, at Loch Raven High School, Cromwell Bridge and Cowpens roads.

* 5th District, April 21, at Perry Hall High School, 4601 Ebenezer Road.

* 6th District, April 23, at Parkville High School, 2600 Putty Hill Ave.

* 7th District, April 30, at Patapsco High School, 8100 Wise Ave.

All hearings begin at 7:30 p.m. Sign-up for speakers is at 6 p.m.

Carroll:

When Henry Hernandez accepted a secret plea agreement to settle a drug kingpin case against him, the state's attorney's office told him he probably wouldn't have to serve any time behind bars. However, no one told him he could face deportation.

The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service could use the agreement to deport him to his native Colombia, which he left 11 years ago.

Hernandez was indicted in January on drug kingpin charges, which were later dropped after he entered into the plea $l agreement. He pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges, for which Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. gave him a 10-year suspended sentence Feb. 20.

Two weeks later, INS officers arrested him at a Carroll County home, charging him with being deportable. For a legal registered alien, a drug conviction is grounds for deportation.

He is being held at the Wicomico County Detention Center on $25,000 bond. At his first deportation hearing yesterday, Federal Immigration Judge John F. Gossart agreed to postone the matter for two weeks after learning Hernandez cooperated with prosecutors and drug officials.

*

The state fire marshal's office is investigating a cross burning that occurred on a black couple's property in Manchester.

Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Bob Thomas said neighbors discovered the cross, which measured about 4 feet by 3 feet, about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. He said that no racial problems were apparent in the area. The last cross burning in Carroll County was five years ago, he said.

Harford:

County residents can exchange their recyclables for tree seedlings from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 11 and 18 at the Susquehannock Environmental Center on Tollgate Road, Bel Air.

The center has sponsored the annual seedling giveaway since it was founded 20 years ago. Organizers will limit each donor to one packet of five trees. Information: 836-9371.

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