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W&L Asbestos Team Delivering Coast-to-Coast Success

August 16, 2022
Home Firm News W&L Asbestos Team Delivering Coast-to-Coast Success

Despite severe restrictions brought on by Covid-19, Weitz & Luxenberg continues to put our clients first and foremost every day — particularly in litigation involving mesothelioma and other asbestos exposure related diagnoses.

From coast to coast, our attorneys are overcoming enormous challenges. They continue to welcome the privilege of representing more individuals and families. Our attorneys thrive on working with them on their intricate mesothelioma claims.

We have returned to some degree of normalcy. Our team is working around limitations in jurisdictions where in-person trials are not allowed. And we are finding solutions for meeting with prospective new clients in person, for example.

W&L applauds the efforts of our attorneys who continue to achieve exceptional results for our valued clients. These examples are testament to our Pan-American success.

$43 Million Verdict in California

We celebrated this momentous $43 million verdict in May 2022, on behalf of a husband and wife in Los Angeles, California. News of this decision traveled from coast to coast as an example of our continuing preeminence in this time of uncertainty.

W&L partner Benno Ashrafi and attorney Brandon DuPree teamed up with of counsel attorney Leonard Sandoval, who led the litigation to this exemplary conclusion. We won for our clients in a big way.

Jurors awarded the Warrens a grand total of $42.3 million in non-economic damages, as well as an additional $1.5 million in economic damages. The jury concluded the defendant, Algoma Hardwoods, Inc., was 50% liable.

This well-deserved victory was rendered roughly two years and three months after the lawsuit was filed in February 2020. The trial began in Long Beach, California, on May 9 and concluded just two weeks later. Superior Court Judge Michele E. Flurer presided.

Our client, Deanne Warren, was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma three years ago. She was in her early 60s. She was exposed to asbestos in the 1970s, not directly, but indirectly.

Ms. Warren didn’t work in a factory or other workplace that exposed its workers to asbestos. Instead, she was exposed because her husband was exposed to asbestos at his workplace. He then unknowingly carried the asbestos fibers home on his work clothes.

Mr. Warren was a carpenter and, later, a general contractor. From 1977 through 1980, he installed Algoma doors. These doors contained asbestos. The asbestos dust got on his clothes.

Algoma Hardwoods fireproof doors contained asbestos in their core. Algoma sold these doors from roughly February 1977 until October 1980.

$23 Million Verdict Won by New York Attorneys

W&L attorney Brittany A. Russell achieved this tremendous $23 million trial verdict on behalf of our client Cynthia Cowger. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma at age 61. For five years during the 1970s, Ms. Cowger was exposed to asbestos at her workplace.

She worked in an office at the industrial laundry facility F.W. Means in Evansville, Illinois. The company rented out uniforms, executive wear, towels, and linens. They also cleaned and laundered these products.

The laundry used press pads made by Qualitex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of these items. Their press pads contained asbestos. Qualitex also manufactured other industrial laundry and dry cleaning equipment.

Even though she worked in an office, Ms. Cowger was exposed to asbestos during her job while on the plant floor. She was responsible for picking up soil tickets. The tickets noted the number of items laundered or dry cleaned.

She needed to visit the pressing stations multiple times each day. Sometimes it was for just a few minutes, but sometimes as long as 20 minutes.

$27 Million Talc Verdict in California

W&L attorney Joseph J. Mandia, Benno Ashrafi, and other team members secured a $27 million verdict for Shawn “Val” Johnson. He was a longtime user of Johnson’s® Baby Powder. This product, which was aggressively marketed and promoted as safe for decades, ultimately led to Mr. Johnson’s diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer.

The jury in Los Angeles awarded our client $458,000 in economic damages and $2 million in non-economic damages. But the really big number was $25 million in punitive damages. This amount was justly awarded to Mr. Johnson given the egregiousness of the company’s deception and duplicity.

Mr. Johnson, a husband, and father of seven, is an exceptionally successful electrical engineer. He holds multiple patents in video technology.

He personally began using Johnson’s® Baby Powder back in the mid-1960s and until the late 1970s. From 1985 until 2019, Mr. Johnson continued to use this product on his children.

The jury determined Johnson & Johnson failed to act reasonably and responsibly. Jurors also faulted the company for manufacturing and design defects — and for failing to warn consumers about the dangers of their product. The jury also found that J&J’s corporate officers, managing agents, and directors acted with both fraud and malice.

W&L Ranks #2 Across the Country in Number of Cases Filed

As reported by KCIC consulting firm in Washington, D.C., Weitz & Luxenberg ranks #2 across the entire United States for the number of asbestos related cases filed. In New York and California, we rank #1.

For many recent years, Weitz & Luxenberg has remained a top ranking firm. The good news for our clients — and New Yorkers in general — is that fewer people needed to file asbestos exposure related claims.

Continuing the Fight for Asbestos Clients

However, our work is not done. As long as people are developing illnesses due to asbestos exposure, W&L plans to keep on fighting.

We will be supporting victims of these debilitating diseases until companies stop exposing people to asbestos, a known cancer-causing substance.

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