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A Long Battle Results in Another Defense Verdict for Selman Breitman

It was a long trial, 28 trial days over seven weeks to be exact, but the Los Angeles County jury returned a unanimous defense verdict for our client, a retailer of automotive supplies. Despite the length of the trial and amount of evidence, the jury gave its verdict after only four hours of deliberations. Plaintiff is dying of mesothelioma (a cancer in the lining surrounding the lungs typically related to asbestos exposure), so he and his wife obtained a preferential trial setting from the court so that he could have his case tried before he passes away. The jury was sympathetic to his condition, but did not believe that his condition was caused by asbestos-containing clutch products he purchased from our client.

Jerry Popovich, the Managing Partner of our Orange County office, was the lead trial attorney. He was assisted by Partner Christine Calareso and Senior Associate Luis Barba, also of the Orange County office. As always, it was a team effort, with the discovery, investigation, and preparation leading up to the winning effort involving attorneys, paralegals, and clerks from both the Los Angeles and Orange County offices.

The plaintiff, at 70 years of age, was leading an active lifestyle, running a scuba shop which he and his wife own, when he was diagnosed with the mesothelioma. There is no cure from this disease, and it will ultimately be fatal. Although plaintiff was initially able to appear in the courtroom for the trial, he suffered a setback early in the trial which required him to miss the rest of the courtroom action. His story came in through his video deposition, as well as through his wife (who was also a plaintiff for loss of consortium), his treating doctor, and of course, his expert witnesses. The plaintiffs asked for $900,000 in economic damages, $10 million for plaintiff in noneconomic damages, and another $10 million for his wife in loss of consortium damages, for a total of $20,900,000. The jury, however, said, "No."