Selman Breitman Lawyers Win Yet Another Major Asbestos Jury Trial
Selman Breitman's trial team of Paul Stephan and Craig Maki, representing the sole non-settling defendant in a Los Angeles Superior Court asbestos case, convinced a jury to vote 11-1 in favor of their client, a manufacturer of a stucco cement product which contained asbestos. After a 3-1/2 week trial, the jury deliberated for less than 3 hours before returning with a special verdict that held in favor of the manufacturer on all counts, including strict liability, negligence, and failure to warn.
The jury agreed with Paul and Craig's arguments that causation had not been proved.
Although Plaintiff Don Lee, represented by Wes Wagnon of Keller, Fishback & Jackson (Oakland, CA), claimed that he was exposed to the cement product while delivering products to new housing tracts in Southern California from 1950-1980, Craig and Paul presented evidence that Lee's "bystander" exposure resulted in only a "trivial" and "medically insignificant" amount of the airborne asbestos fibers with which he had contact.
The case was substantially complicated by the plaintiff's physical condition. It was undisputed that Mr. Lee had serious asbestosis as the ILO "B" read was the maximum 3/3, with calcified pleural plaques. Additionally, a significant sympathy factor was in play as Mr. Lee testified at trial using a portable oxygen system and a walker. But the defense team built a mountain of evidence and presented reliable expert authority attributing Mr. Lee's asbestosis to a series of substantial long-term confined-space exposures to other asbestos products, some containing up to 90% asbestos. Such exposures included service by Lee as a boiler tender aboard a Navy ship and significant exposure to various joint compounds in new homes over 20 years.
Paul Stephan stated, "Going in, this appeared to be a difficult case due to plaintiff's condition and the complicated exposure history. But, working with Craig and our trial prep staff, we were able to seat a quality jury, and show them that our client was not responsible for Mr. Lee's disease. In the end, they respected our requests to put their sympathies aside and give our client the fair trial it deserved. We're proud that we were able to make good on our client's trust and confidence in our team."
All of us here congratulate the Toxic Tort group and Paul and Craig's team for yet another jury trial win!
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