The state of Maryland will not be able to recover $17 million it spent to remove asbestos from 29 state buildings, a jury in Annapolis has decided.

The Anne Arundel County Circuit Court jury decided Tuesday that the United States Gypsum Co., the U.S. Mineral Co. and the Asbestos Spray Corp. were not liable for the expense.

"A total and complete victory," said Thomas F. McDonough, the Towson, Md., attorney for the defunct New Jersey-based Asbestos Spray Corp.

"We are obviously disappointed," said Assistant Attorney General Marlene Trestman, one of the state's lawyers. "It was a complete defense verdict."

This was the only part of the state's 1984 lawsuit to be decided by jury.

The state dismissed other segments of the suit or reached out-of-court settlements with other asbestos manufacturers, Trestman said. She could not say how much the state recovered in damages through those actions.

Trestman said the state would weigh its options for a possible appeal. The state sought to show that two products at issue in the case, spray fireproofing and acoustical ceiling plaster, were dangerous.

But the jury found that the materials were not defective nor "unreasonably" dangerous, lawyers for both sides said.