DRI: And the Defense Wins!

Posted on Wednesday, 04 April 2012

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DRI member Edward R. Hugo of Hugo Parker in San Francisco obtained a defense verdict in a wrongful death product liability jury trial. The plaintiffs claimed that the decedent died of malignant mesothelioma, as a result of his occupational exposure to asbestos while employed by Johns-Manville from 1964 to 1982 and asked the jury to award them $10 million in damages. The jury returned a complete defense verdict, finding that the hazards of raw asbestos fiber were known, or should have been known, when the defendant allegedly brokered the asbestos to Johns-Manville. Mr. Hugo represented the defendant, Special Electric Company, Inc. The law firm of Paul & Hanley, LLP in Berkeley represented the plaintiffs.

 

Plaintiffs Carmen Nunez and her adult daughters Carmen, Lourdes and Gloria Nunez, alleged that Francisco Nunez died from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the peritoneum, caused by his occupational exposure to asbestos, while employed at the Johns-Manville manufacturing facility in Long Beach from 1964–1982. The plaintiffs filed this lawsuit against defendant Special Electric Company, Inc. and other entities, claiming that decedent Francisco Nunez was exposed to raw asbestos fiber supplied by the defendants, while working in the thermobestos insulation and transite pipe departments, at the Johns-Manville Plant. The plaintiffs sought monetary damages for the decedent’s loss of earnings, past medical care and home services; they requested an award of $848,638.00 in economic damages, and 10 times that amount in noneconomic damages. Plaintiffs’ expert witnesses were Barry Horn, M.D., a pulmonologist; Robert Johnson, CPA, an economist; and John P. Templin, CIH, an industrial hygienist and materials expert.

 

Special Electric Company, Inc., contended that it did not cause or contribute to Francisco Nunez’ mesothelioma and asserted that the dangers of occupational exposure were known when the decedent worked at Johns-Manville and that Johns-Manville caused the decedent’s mesothelioma.

 

After 15 days of trial, the jury deliberated for two hours and rendered a defense verdict.

 

To learn more about DRI, an international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation, visit www.dri.org

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