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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Calif. jury awards $71M in asbestos case

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Nov 13, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – An Alameda County, Calif., jury has returned a verdict for $70,861,113 in favor of a former U.S. Navy machinist mate and nuclear inspector and against defendant John Crane Inc. in an asbestos personal injury case.  

The Oct. 30 verdict was entered following a six-week trial and one day of deliberations in the Alameda County Superior Court. The trial began in September with Judge Victoria Kolakowski presiding.

John Crane, a packing and gasket manufacturer, was found three percent liable for causing the claimant’s mesothelioma.

The jury concluded that the defendant was negligent, that its asbestos-containing products were defective in design and that it failed to warn the claimant of hazards associated with asbestos exposure.

The jury assessed $40 million in non-economic damages for claimant Robert Whalen, $30 million in loss of consortium damages for Linda Whalen and $861,113 in economic damages.

During the trial, the Whalens presented evidence that the defendant knew as late as 1970, and should have known decades earlier, that the asbestos used in the packing and gaskets was hazardous.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs argued that John Crane never tested its products for safety or consulted in medical literature concerning the potential hazards of the products and failed to sufficiently warn users of the dangers of working with asbestos.

Whalen served in the U.S. Navy aboard nuclear submarines as a machinist mate and a nuclear inspector from 1964 to 1990. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2013.

During his time in the service, Whalen worked with asbestos-containing John Crane packing and gaskets while aboard the Navy vessels as part of his duties.

Associates Jennifer L. Alesio and Heather-Ann Young joined senior partner Gilbert L. Purcell of Brayton Purcell LLP in representing the plaintiffs at trial.

John Crane was represented by Daniel Griffin of O’Connell, Tivin, Miller & Burns, LLC and Robert Nelder of Hassard Bonnington LLP at trial.

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

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