LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - A brake linings manufacturer received a defense verdict after what its attorneys consider the most challenging friction case their firm has seen in its 38 years of asbestos litigation.
A Los Angeles County jury entered a defense verdict in favor of defendant Maremont Corporation on April 4 in Judge H. Chester Horn's courtroom.
Represented by Gary Paul of Waters, Kraus & Paul, plaintiff Hiroko Felton filed the lawsuit on behalf her late husband Donald Felton, who died of pleural mesothelioma.
Hiroko originally filed her suit against more than 20 defendants, but only Maremont remained at trial. It was represented by Edward Slaughter, Macy Chan and Michael Giaquinto of Hawkins, Parnell, Thackston & Young LLP.
The claimant alleged her husband's asbestos exposure could be attributed to his work in a brake and clutch re-manufacturing plant, Ace Brake Supply, in the 1950s.
During trial, the claimant alleged no exposure to any amphibole asbestos or any other exposure other than her husband's work with brakes.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff worked on the assembly line at Ace grinding up to 500 brakes per day, eight hours per day for five-and-a-half days per week.
The decedent alleged he worked in the brake relining operation for two years and then continued working in the brake business in shops and as a salesman for roughly 30 years.
The lawsuit states that Ace exclusively purchased Maremont brake linings in bulk for Donald Felton to work with.
During trial, Maremont argued the claimant failed to show markers of asbestos exposure in diagnostic films or pathology and that epidemiology evidence proved that brakes did not cause Donald Felton's mesothelioma.
Maremont also argued that its products were not defective and any exposure to asbestos dust would have been caused by Donald Felton's employer's failure to provide proper ventilation and respiratory protection as required by California law.
During closing arguments at the end of the two week trial, Paul asked the jury to award $7.5 million in compensatory damages. However, the jury instead delivered a verdict in favor of Maremont.
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