Wisconsin Jury Awards $9.7 Million Asbestos Verdict in Secondary Exposure Case


SWMW Law attorneys secure justice for family of Wisconsin mother who died from mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos fibers from stepfather’s clothing

ST. LOUIS, MO (May 25, 2023) – SWMW Law, one of the top law firms in the country focusing on plaintiffs’ asbestos, consumer and product liability litigation, has secured a $9.7 million verdict on behalf of the family of Sarah Krentz, a Wisconsin mother who died in 2019 of mesothelioma, a rare and fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

Picture 1Mrs. Krentz was exposed to asbestos as a child when her stepfather, who worked as a sheet-metal mechanic, unknowingly brought home asbestos fibers on his clothing after working around asbestos-containing products at various jobsites in the Milwaukee area.

The jury found 9 of the 11 named defendants at fault and awarded Mrs. Krentz’s family nearly $10 million in compensatory damages - $3 million to Corey Krentz, Mrs. Krentz’s husband, and $6.7 million to the estate of Mrs. Krentz. The judgment marks the first solo trial verdict for SWMW Law.

Motor Casting Co. was found to be 50-percent at fault for Mrs. Krentz’s death. Other defendants found liable included Briggs and Stratton, Butters-Fetting, Holming Company, John Hennes Trucking Company, Johns Manville, Mid-City Foundry, Navistar, Inc., and Nestle Purina (aka Friskies-Carnation Plant).

The case had been pending in Milwaukee County since 2017, delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other circumstances.

“It’s been a long, hard-fought path to justice for Sarah and her family,” said Partner Sophie Zavaglia, who served as lead trial attorney. “This was a unique case in a lot of ways, especially due to Sarah’s age – we don’t often see mesothelioma clients so young. Every case we handle is heartbreaking, but Sarah’s was especially emotional for everyone involved. She was a devoted wife and mother who was robbed of a promising future at the hands of companies who put profits over people. The jury clearly understood that these companies must take responsibility for their negligence and be held accountable for the devastation they cause to families like Sarah’s.”

Mrs. Krentz was first diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2014 and passed away in 2019. She was only 39-years-old, leaving behind her husband and a 12-year-old son.

Picture 2“It was a very tough year when Sarah was on hospice,” Mr. Krentz recounted during his testimony at trial. “[Our son] wanted to know why she was in a hospital bed, on oxygen. He would ask why Mom doesn’t do certain things, didn’t play with him anymore. Those things were very hard and difficult to explain. We lost our best friend.”

Zavaglia described the family as “humble” and “hardworking,” noting that the judgment grants one of Mrs. Krentz’s final wishes.

“All Sarah wanted was to make sure her son would be taken care of,” Zavaglia said. “It was a long road to get here, but I’m so proud and honored that we were able to make sure her final wish was granted. We just wish Sarah was still here to see it.”

In addition to Zavaglia, Associate Christina Ewers also assisted in the case, as well as paralegal Courtney Gass. Zavaglia also credits Partner Mike Brockland and Member Ben Schmickle with providing invaluable guidance throughout the case.

The trial lasted two weeks and the jury deliberated for nearly three hours before handing down their verdict on May 19. The case, Estate of Sarah Krentz and Korey Krentz v. Motor Castings, et al., case no. 2017-CV007030, was presided over by the Hon. Christopher Foley.

About SWMW Law

SWMW Law is a St. Louis-based law firm dedicated to helping individuals harmed by asbestos, herbicides or other dangerous products. The firm has recovered more than $500 million for thousands of hardworking families who were the victims of companies putting profits over people. To learn more, visit or call (877) 205-4250.