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$53 Million to Asbestos Victim

In one of the largest compensatory verdicts for a single plaintiff in the history of asbestos litigation, a New York jury on Feb. 8 awarded a mesothelioma victim and his family a $53 million verdict for his asbestos exposure as a brake mechanic (Patricia Brown, Individually and as Executrix of the Estate of Stephen Brown v. AC&S Corp. et al., No. 12658-00, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

After a monthlong trial in New York County Supreme Court, the jury awarded Stephen Brow’s family $53 million against 36 companies for his death from mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos from work he performed as a brake mechanic.

The jury deliberated for a week before rendering the verdict and apportioning liability between 36 companies. A source told Mealey’s that Honeywell, successor to Bendix Corp., is liable for 45.75 percent of the $53 million verdict.

Brown worked as a brake mechanic at a gas station in Cambridge, Mass., from 1965 to 1968 and from 1972 to 1974. From 1968 to 1972, he was enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and worked at various job sites in engine and boiler rooms. In 1974, Brown returned to the Coast Guard; he retired from the guard in 1990.

In April 2000, Brown was diagnosed with mesothelioma and sued 48 friction product companies, alleging that they were negligent for exposing him to asbestos from brake linings he used during his two stints as a brake mechanic. In December 2000, Brown died of mesothelioma at age 51. His suit was carried on by his wife, Patricia, and his two sons, Adam and Jason.

At trial, the Browns presented several expert witnesses to prove Brown’s friction exposure, including state of the art expert David Egilman, an epidemiologist from Brown University in Providence, R.I.; Elaine Panitz, M.D., occupational medicine, Massachusetts; Douglas Pohl, Ph.D,M.D., pathologist,Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine; and Yasunosuke Suzuki, M.D., pathologist, N.Y.

The friction companies contended that Brown”s exposure was not from brake linings but from his employment in the Coast Guard. The companies also used the chrysotile defense, claiming that not enough dust is emitted from brake linings to cause a significant exposure or disease. Expert witnesses who testified on behalf of the friction companies included pulmonologist James Crapo, M.D., of Denver and epidemiologist Alexander Walker from New York.

Representing the Browns are Jerry Kristal, Michael P. Roberts and Richard Meadow of Weitz & Luxenberg in New York. Honeywell is represented by Jeff Peck of Drinker, Biddle & Shanley in Florham Park, NJ.

 

Recent W&L Results

  • $20 Million

    The family of a former Navy shipfitter who died earlier this year of mesothelioma received a verdict of against a manufacturer of boilers that were insulated with asbestos.

  • $25 Million

    Two men sought help after getting cancer due to asbestos-tainted products. Crane Co., the product manufacturer, acted recklessly and with conscious disregard for safety. W&L is relentless in ensuring that innocent victims are not brushed aside.

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Mesothelioma and Asbestos

We really appreciate your hard work on our behalf and the compensation checks have been nice along the way.

- Robert B. , Cape Coral , FL

W&L Facts

  • We won a $37 million verdict for 2 clients — a steam fitter and a boiler maker — with asbestos lung cancer. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • More than 2,800 electricians have used us as their legal advisors. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We’ve been helping clients for more than 25 years. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • Our Asbestos Exposure Team has more than 50 lawyers. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We got $518 million from the chemical industry. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
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  • We helped more than 7,000 clients from Arkansas. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We won a $190 million verdict for 5 clients who were exposed to asbestos. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We got $53 million from asbestos product manufacturers.

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  • We got more than $110 million from the automotive industry. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We won lung cancer cases totaling almost $1.5 billion. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We got more than $350 million from the petrochemical industry. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We worked with almost 3,000 clients with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We helped more than 19,000 clients from New York. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We helped more than 3,500 clients from Florida. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We helped almost 1,400 clients from Massachusetts. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We won a $2.16 million settlement for the family of a NYC construction worker who died of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We got $1.8 million from the aviation industry. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • More than 4,000 carpenters have used us as their legal advisors. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
  • We obtained a $190 million verdict in a mesothelioma case. Mesothelioma and Asbestos
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