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Honeywell Sees Minimal Exposure to N.Y. Asbestos Verdict

A jury awards $53.5 million to the family of a man who died from an asbestos-related illness.

Honeywell International

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fell Friday after a New York state jury awarded $53.5 million to the family of a man who died of asbestos exposure, but the company said its own liability in the case is minimal.

The jury found that the family of Stephen Brown, a 51-year-old man who died of his exposure to asbestos, was entitled to damages from Bendix, a former unit of AlliedSignal, which has since merged with Honeywell.

Honeywell wasn't alone, as 47 other firms were involved in the asbestos lawsuit. "Our part is only 2.3%, which is a little over $1 million and is not material," a company spokesman said. "This is completely covered by insurance." Honeywell took out an insurance policy of more than $2 billion to cover asbestos liabilities. "We expect the verdict to be either set aside or reduced," the spokesman added.

Honeywell ended down $1.21, or 3.6%, to $32.71 on the

New York Stock Exchange.

Separately, U.S. automakers faced a setback in their own asbestos liability claims on Friday. A federal judge rejected claims from

General Motors

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Ford Motor

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and the Chrysler arm of



to transfer thousands of asbestos lawsuits from state courts nationwide into a single federal court.

Had the order been granted, automakers likely would have argued that the claims should be dismissed as a group for lack of scientific evidence, according to a


report. GM and DaimlerChrysler closed higher, but Ford slipped.