W&L Cited for Top NYS 2014 Product Liability Cases by New York Law Journal

W&L has been recognized by the New York Law Journal for winning the top three product liability verdicts in New York State in 2014.

“The lawyers and law firms who are ranked in this special section represent the best of the best in 2014,” New York Law Journal associate publisher Farrell McManus wrote in the Journal’s “Top Verdicts New York 2014.” He continued, “Their zealous advocacy on behalf of their clients is inspiring and deserving of our respect.”

W&L represented workers who suffered grievous work-related mesothelioma — an aggressive, incurable form of cancer — caused by asbestos exposure due to corporate recklessness. The size and scale of the awards represent the horrific nature of this disease.

Jury Awards in the Millions of Dollars

In one consolidated case, Sweberg v. ABB Inc., a jury awarded a total of $25 million to two electricians, Ivan Sweberg and the estate of Selwyn Hackshaw. The jury heard the electricians suffered from mesothelioma because they were exposed to asbestos from the 1950s through the 1970s and the defendant, while aware of the risk of such exposure, failed to warn them.

In Hillyer v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., a jury awarded $20 million to the estate of Charles Hillyer, a steamfitter who also suffered from mesothelioma. Again, W&L demonstrated that the defendant knowingly exposed him to insulation containing asbestos and did not inform anyone of the dangers.

“These verdicts bring justice to the workers and their families and help expose corporate wrongdoing by companies that had long ignored the horrific effects of asbestos on those men and women who worked with and around their asbestos products,” said Perry Weitz, co-founder and senior partner of W&L.

“Asbestos-related diseases take a terrible toll. The men and women diagnosed with these diseases, and their families, suffer greatly. Every year, thousands of Americans die from diseases caused by past asbestos exposure and, given the long latency period for these diseases, many thousands more will die over the next decade.

“W&L is committed to helping these victims receive justice, including verdicts that are appropriate to the severity of their illnesses,” Weitz added.

W&L is a national leader in the field of asbestos litigation and has represented more than 35,000 victims of asbestos exposure during the last three decades. Its success has sent a message to the corporate sector that the reckless failure to warn about the known dangers of asbestos in products and at workplaces cannot be ignored.

The W&L trial teams on these cases were Danny R. Kraft Jr., Jerry Kristal, Adam R. Cooper, Benjamin Darche, Phan T. Alvarado and Justin Weitz.

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