n Interest added to the $7.5 million award boosts it to in excess of $8.5 million.
By Patsy R. Brumfield
JACKSON – Franklin Corp. must pay more than $8.5 million in damages to four workers who say they suffered medical problems while working at its furniture plant, the Mississippi Supreme Court said.
The unanimous decision, written by Justice Mike Randolph, also affirmed a May 2007 decision by Circuit Judge Andrew Howorth to reduce punitive damages to $5 million from the $7.5 million awarded by a Calhoun County jury.
Nearly $1.925 million in actual damages were awarded. Interest added to the total boosts it in excess of $8.5 million.
The plaintiffs – Pauline Tedford and Lora Smith of Eupora, Judy Haire of Vardaman and Samantha Mixon of Houston – worked at Franklin Corp. for different lengths of time between 1999 and 2004.
They accused Franklin officials of intentionally disregarding their concerns and the health hazards of their using a specific glue in a unventilated facility.
Franklin cannot appeal because no federal issues were involved.
They could ask for a rehearing, but that may be unlikely with the court’s unanimous vote.
Franklin’s attorney, James L. Robertson of Jackson, said he’s weighing all options.
The original lawsuit was filed Aug. 17, 2004.
Franklin Corp. is one of the largest privately owned furniture manufacturers in the United States with about 1,200 workers.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.