John Katerndahl and Holly Beal Successfully Defend Personal Injury Asbestos Case with $16M+ in Claimed Damages

After a four-week jury trial in Van Nuys Superior Court, Selman Breitman trial attorneys John Katerndahl and Holly Beal were successful in their defense of a lung cancer personal injury and loss of consortium case. The plaintiffs' claims were based on plaintiff's daily work with our client's equipment over a 40-year career, and that the equipment had asbestos-containing components. Last week, the court heard and granted our client's motion for a partial nonsuit and dismissed plaintiffs' punitive damages claim.

In closing argument, plaintiffs' attorney asked for an award of over $14 Million in noneconomic damages for pain and suffering and for loss of consortium, and for an additional $2.5 Million in economic damages for medical care, home health services, and for future loss of pension, Social Security, and household services.

After deliberating for a day, the jury found that plaintiff James Godber, a former smoker, was 60% at fault for his lung cancer and that tobacco companies were 10% at fault. The jury allocated a total of 30% fault to the Selman's clients. After adjusting for plaintiff's comparative fault and the anticipated setoff for prior settlements in the case, the net judgment against the Selman's clients will be approximately $260,000.

John Katerndahl is a Partner in Selman Breitman's Los Angeles office, working with the Toxic Tort/Environmental, General Liability, and Products Liability practice groups. He is frequently called upon to serve as first chair in high-value cases in which plaintiffs routinely seek multi-million dollar awards, and has co-authored numerous published articles on medical/legal issues relating to toxic tort and product liability matters. John was recently admitted to the American Board of Trial Advocates ("ABOTA").

Holly Beal is Of Counsel in the firm's Orange County office, working with the Toxic Tort/Environmental, Construction, General Liability, and Trucking and Transportation practice groups.


Selman Breitman provides this information for educational purposes. Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case. This information should not be construed or relied on as legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship.