Early yesterday morning, a bus left the Steelworkers Hall in Dundalk carrying Lawrence Smith and 30 other people who have a stake in the nation's largest asbestos personal injury trial. They went to Baltimore Circuit Court to hear the closing arguments in the 4-month-old case, but the arguments were rescheduled for today.
As Mr. Smith stood outside the courtroom in the Clarence Mitchell Jr. Courthouse, he said he and the others were not upset by the delay.
"They're not angry about it because they figured something like this would come up," said Mr. Smith, a 65-year-old plaintiff who claims to have contracted an asbestos-related disease during almost 43 years of work at the Bethlehem Steel Corp.
Nearly 100 spectators filled Judge Marshall A. Levin's courtroo yesterday as he named the four companies that settled with the plaintiffs over the holiday weekend: National Gypsum Co., U.S. Gypsum Co., Quigley Co. and Armstrong World Industries Inc. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. settled last week. There are 8,555 plaintiffs in the case. So far, settlements have been reached with 8 of the 14 companies.