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Asbestos verdict may bankrupt paint company

ANGLETON, Texas (AP) — A jury has ruled that Union Carbide Corp. was not fraudulent in how it sold asbestos for use in Kelly-Moore Paint Co.'s interior finishing products — a verdict an attorney for the paint company said probably will force it into bankruptcy in the face of tens of thousands of lawsuits.

Kelly-Moore had sued Union Carbide for $1.3 billion plus punitive damages, claiming the Dow Chemical Co. subsidiary had hidden from it the dangers of asbestos.

Kelly-Moore, based in San Carlos, Calif., is facing more than 40,000 lawsuits from people claiming to have been injured by asbestos, which causes lung diseases. The company was counting on winning the lawsuit because it doesn't have enough money to pay the victims, said Mark Lanier, its Houston-based attorney.