In a head-shaker of a case that went all the way to the state’s high court last year, a Mississippi state court judge has tossed a $322 million jury verdict against Union Carbide Corporation and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company. The May 2011 award was the largest ever in an single-plaintiff asbestos personal injury case, according to Bloomberg News data.

In a Dec. 22 order that was filed in Smith County Circuit Court on Dec. 27, Special judge William F. Coleman vacated the award and all prior orders entered by the previous state circuit court judge overseeing the case, Eddie Bowen. As we reported last May, defense lawyers discovered just two weeks after the jury verdict that Judge Bowen’s father had previously filed asbestos claims against companies using Union Carbide asbestos while the judge was practicing law in the state. In October defense lawyers convinced the Mississippi state Supreme Court to remove Judge Bowen from the case.

In November, Union Carbide’s lawyers at Forman Perry Watkins Krutz & Tardy moved to vacate the May judgement, the underlying jury verdict, and all of Judge Bowen’s orders. Judge Coleman’s order last month granted that motion.

Chevron Phillips is represented in the case by lawyers from Adams and Reese.

The plaintiff, Thomas Brown, Jr., claims he inhaled asbestos dust while working as a roughneck mixing drilling mud in Mississippi and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico in the mid-80s. He is represented by Hossley Embry; David McCarty of the David Neil McCarty Law Firm; Tullos & Tullos; and solo-practitioner Bob Hammond of Hattiesburg, Miss.