Los Angeles, California Office

Weitz & Luxenberg’s Los Angeles, California office allows us greater immediate access to our clients on the West coast. This dual-coast attack from both L.A. and New York helps us better serve clients nationwide. It allows us to better pursue corporations that manufacture asbestos-containing products and companies causing environmental pollution in our air and water.
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History of Our California Office

Since 2010, Weitz & Luxenberg’s Los Angeles office has given the people of California a voice and the legal support they need in the fight against negligent companies and individuals. Our California-based attorneys fight for victims of asbestos exposure and environmental pollution.

Our California personal injury attorneys work hard to help get our clients the compensation they deserve when they suffer due to corporate greed or others’ negligence.

W&L’s LA office now has more than 40 employees. We are located in Century City, approximately 3 miles from UCLA and Westwood.

Facts about Mesothelioma in California

California leads the nation in asbestos-related deaths. The Environmental Working Group estimates the state accounted for 13% to 16% of asbestos-exposure-related deaths in the U.S. from 1999 through 2013.(1) (2)

California’s rapid growth coincided with asbestos’ rising popularity for much of the 20th century. California shipyards worked around the clock during World War II, and the U.S. maintained 140 military bases by the end of the war.(3) Asbestos was widely used in ships and military buildings.

The state’s post-war manufacturing and construction boom created millions of jobs in industries with high risk of asbestos exposure such as construction and manufacturing.(4)

Mining the toxic mineral skyrocketed as an “asbestos rush” hit California in 1959. The United States Geologic Survey estimates miners, exposed to the deadly dust, hauled 1.6 million tons of asbestos from California mines between 1960 and 2002, largely for building and insulation materials.(5)

Empty mines turned Superfund clean-up sites(6) (7) remain as reminders of the danger asbestos posed for people who worked in them or lived nearby. Decades later, many of those hard-working families that built the California we know today are falling victim to asbestos-related diseases.

Weitz & Luxenberg’s California office attorneys are there to fight for them.

Cases Our California Office Handles

Head shots of Benno Ashrafi and Alexandra Shef

Q&A with the Managing Attorneys of the California Office

Benno Ashrafi (BA)

Alexandra Shef (AS)

  • Who is the typical client the attorneys at the California office of Weitz & Luxenberg helps?

    BA: The majority of our work here in LA is litigation related to asbestos exposure. Many of our clients are people who worked in oil refineries, service people who were in the Navy and worked aboard ships or in shipyards, construction workers, auto mechanics, and contractors laying water and sewer pipes for cities.

    AS: Some of our clients received secondary exposure through their spouses. They didn’t work directly with asbestos, but they may have been exposed by doing laundry for or being around their loved ones who did.

    We handle other personal injury matters, too, where our clients have been injured as a result of negligence. We’re also working on environmental class action litigation cases. These include situations where people are affected by water or air contamination. They may have been made ill or the property value of their homes or businesses may have declined.

  • You talk about a lot of clients with blue collar jobs who’ve worked hard for their livings. When they come to you, do they have some anxiety about being just a little guy taking on the big corporation that exposed them to asbestos?

    BA: That’s exactly right. These are real working people and we are generally suing big companies, manufacturers, refineries – the Exxons, the Chevrons, the General Electrics. We’re just trying to fight for people who deserve justice. Oftentimes, the deck is stacked against our clients because these kinds of companies effectively own the world.

    Weitz & Luxenberg has been fighting asbestos cases since the 1980s. The firm has knowledge and experience that’s been developed during years and years of asbestos litigation.

    AS: We certainly bring enormous experience to the legal fight, because our attorneys are very well versed in asbestos litigation. 

    What’s important for clients to understand is that we are with them through the whole legal process. When you get a big win against a large corporation, that company typically tries to appeal the decision. Lots of other law firms don’t handle appeals in house. Weitz & Luxenberg does.

    We’ll be with our clients for the whole case. We won’t refer you to another firm if there’s an appeal. We see your case through.

  • Is there any particular case you’ve worked on that makes you especially proud to be a part of Weitz & Luxenberg?

    BA: Yes. We had a case that dealt with workers who come home with asbestos on their clothes and their spouses or other family members are exposed. The employer, a refinery, argued, “We have no duty to protect people outside the refinery from toxic chemicals we know are dangerous.” In other words the refinery was saying, “We can take these toxic chemicals and spread them throughout the environment.”

    We had to take that all the way to the California Supreme Court and the ruling came down in our favor. The court basically said to these employers, “No, you can’t just send toxic fumes, dust, asbestos – whatever it is – off your premises and say ‘good riddance.’” The court told them if you know of dangers, you have to take precautions.

    Winning that case was very satisfying for our legal team, and more importantly, for our clients. They don’t want to see other families go through the nightmares that they have had to suffer.

    AS: It sounds cliché, but I go home every day and I feel like I’ve done something good. Because we’re helping people who really need the help – they’re victims.

    We’re working for people who worked hard all their lives to support their families. They had no idea they’d be dying from these horrible diseases that result from asbestos exposure through their jobs.

    The companies they worked for knew from early-on the dangers of asbestos, but they put profits over the safety of others.

    We’re fighting for good guys and we’re fighting the good fight.

Testimonials from Our Clients

  1. EWG. (n.d.). Asbestos-Related Deaths in California. Retrieved from: http://www.asbestosnation.org/facts/asbestos-deaths/ca/
  2. EWG. (n.d.). Mapping the Deadly Toll of Asbestos – State by State, County by County. Retrieved from: http://www.asbestosnation.org/facts/asbestos-deaths/
  3. California State Capitol Museum. (n.d.). California After the War. Retrieved from: https://capitolmuseum.ca.gov/special/ww2/after-the-war
  4. California State Capitol Museum. (n.d.). California After the War. Retrieved from: https://capitolmuseum.ca.gov/special/ww2/after-the-war
  5. U.S. Geologic Survey. (2011). Reported Historic Asbestos Mines, Historic Asbestos Prospects, and Other Natural Occurrences of Asbestos in California. History of Asbestos Discovery and Mining in California (pg. 10-12). Retrieved from: ftp://ftp.consrv.ca.gov/pub/dmg/pubs/ms/59/MS59_Pamphlet.pdf
  6. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Coalinga Asbestos Mine Coalinga, CA. Retrieved from: https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0902075
  7. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Atlas Asbestos Mine Coalinga, CA. Retrieved from: https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0901736
  8. Conley, S., et al. (2016, March 18). Methane emissions from the 2015 Aliso Canyon blowout in Los Angeles, CA. Retrieved from: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6279/1317

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