Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Jun. 4, 2014, 2:42pm

FRESNO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - A Fresno County jury entered a $10.9 million verdict in favor of a deceased plumber in an asbestos lawsuit, becoming the first mesothelioma verdict ever awarded in the Fresno County Superior Court.

The Worthington & Caron Law Firm, which represented the plaintiffs, issued a press release on Monday detailing the case.

Decedent James "Jimmy" Phillips developed pleural mesothelioma in March 2012 after working as a plumber and performing auto mechanic work. After nearly a year of treatment, he died from his asbestos-related disease at age 59.

The Phillips family originally filed their lawsuit in May 2012 in Alameda County, Calif. However, the defendants in the case had the suit transferred to Fresno.

Honeywell, whose predecessor Bendix manufactured asbestos-containing brake pads and linings, was the only remaining defendant at the time of trial.

During trial, the plaintiffs presented evidence showing Phillips, a race car enthusiast, was exposed to asbestos dust from automotive products while working on cars, race cars, trucks and heavy equipment since the 1960s

After deliberating for six days, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the Phillips family.

The jury awarded $7.4 million in compensatory damages, assigning 30 percent liability to Honeywell/Bendix. It also awarded an additional $3.5 million in punitive damages, finding that the defendant acted with reckless indifference.

The plaintiffs' trial team consisted of co-counsel Stuart Purdy and Rob Green of the Simon, Greenstone, Panatier & Barlett law firm.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Heather Isringhausen Gvillo at asbestos@legalnewsline.com

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