NEW YORK – Diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc. on Friday said its allocation in a $53.5 asbestos-related jury award amounted to about $1.1 million, or 2.3 percent, of the entire verdict.
Honeywell said it would appeal the ruling and expects the award to be overturned or reduced.
The company has more $2 billion in insurance coverage specifically for asbestos-related liability.
On Friday, a New York State court jury awarded damages to the family of Stephen Brown, a 51-year-old man who died of asbestos exposure, the plaintiff's attorney said.
Shares of Honeywell, a component of the Dow Jones industrial average, fell $1.77, or 5.2 percent, to $32.15 in afternoon trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
The verdict from the jury sitting at State Supreme Court in Manhattan was against Bendix, a former unit of AlliedSignal, which has since merged with Honeywell International Inc. , according to Perry Weitz, a partner at the New York law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg.
Honeywell said its allocation of the award amounted to about $1.2 million, or 2.3 percent of the entire verdict, but Weitz said he believed Honeywell would be liable for 25 percent of the damages because Bendix was found by the jury to have been reckless.
Brown was married and had two children, Weitz said, adding that the other defendants in the case had settled the litigation, leaving Bendix as the remaining defendant.
Morris Township, New Jersey-based Honeywell said it would appeal the ruling and expects the award to be overturned or reduced.
"It's spooking the market because they're wondering whether the cost to settle these cases is going up every time," said stock analyst Quint Nufer of Lazard Freres.
"Every time there's a jury award, people can reasonably assume that the cost to settle these cases out of court goes up," Nufer said. "Is this material enough to really change our opinion that Honeywell is well insured against future settlements and court cases? Absolutely not."
Honeywell said the award was immaterial, noting the company has more than enough in insurance to cover any asbestos-related liability.
"Regardless, it's not a liability to us," said Honeywell spokesman Tom Crane. "We're 100 percent covered by insurance."
The company has more $2 billion in insurance coverage specifically for potential asbestos-related liability. Honeywell has gone to court 120 times on asbestos-related matters and has won 116 times, according to industry analysts and the company.