Weitz & Luxenberg Secures $16.25 Mil Jury Verdict in Asbestos Case Involving Exposure From Dental Tape
On Friday, June 27, 2008, Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. achieved a $16.25 million verdict in an asbestos lawsuit on behalf of Marvin Penn, 71, diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma, and his wife Josephine Penn. The jury attributed 20 percent of the liability to the sole defendant at trial, Kerr Corp., a dental tape supply company.
The case, which clears a new path to justice in asbestos litigation, is believed to be the first successful asbestos verdict against that type of defendant.
Douglas D. von Oiste, Weitz & Luxenberg trial team attorney and lead counsel said, “The jury believed Mr. Penn and did not believe Kerr’s defense that the product it distributed did not release harmful asbestos dust, and that Kerr could not have known at the time that it was dangerous.”
Marvin Penn was a mail carrier from 1963 to 1999, though, in considering a career change, attended dental technician school in the late 1960s. It was there that he was exposed to asbestos while making castings by carving wax replicas of teeth using asbestos-containing dental tape.
The complex case (Index no. 105637/07, New York Supreme Court, Manhattan) involved a three-week trial featuring state-of the-art medical experts, which culminated in the verdict against Kerr. The jury attributed 20 percent of liability to another dental supply manufacturer, Dentsply Corp, f/k/a Randsom & Randolf, which settled before the verdict.
The trial also addressed Penn’s other exposures to asbestos. He testified that he worked in a post office across from the former location of the World Trade Center while it was being sprayed with asbestos. The spray was found to be 40 percent liable.
Additionally, Todd Shipyards was found 20 percent liable given that Penn’s father worked there as a steamfitter. Family members of workers exposed to asbestos are at risk due to the asbestos dust brought into the home on the shoes, clothing, skin, and hair of workers.
The Weitz & Luxenberg trial team included Douglas D. von Oiste and asbestos trial attorney James C. Long, Jr. The judge was the Honorable Marilyn G. Diamond.
Weitz & Luxenberg is known for spearheading asbestos cases, among others, securing a $37 million asbestos verdict in 2007 in two lung cancer cases in a reverse bifurcated trial.
In 2002, the firm won a $53 million verdict for a brake mechanic suffering from mesothelioma, and a $49 million verdict for a boilermaker who died from mesothelioma.
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