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Long BeachCalifornia – Asbestos Company – $4 Million Mesothelioma Verdict
Southern CaliforniaEdison Brake Mechanic Gets $4 Million
Robert Frank Smith and Mary Lou Smith v.PneumoAbex LLC (2009)
Los AngelesCounty Superior Court Docket No. BC396072
On March 25, 2009, aLos Angelesjury returned a verdict of $4,055,000 againstPneumoAbex LLC for Robert and Mary Lou Smith.
Robert Smith, age 65, worked from 1968 to 1971 as a automobile serviceman for Southern California Edison inLong Beach,California. He and his fellow workers regularly inspected, removed, and replaced asbestos-containing brakes on the Southern California Edison’s fleet of vehicles, causing him to breathe deadly asbestos dust.PneumoAbex LLC manufactured many of these brakes, which Edison purchased from a localNAPA store. Mr. Smith was also exposed to asbestos while working as a truck driver from 1971 to the early 1980s hauling used brake shoes to and from a Sears, Roebuck & Co. facility.
Robert Smith was diagnosed withmesothelioma, an asbestos-caused cancer. TheKazan firm filed suit on behalf ofMr.and Mrs. Smith in June 2008. Evidence at trial showed thatPneumoAbex had been aware of the deadly health effects of breathing asbestos dust since at least the 1940s, but thatPneumoAbex did not begin warning its customers of those effects until years after Mr. Smith was exposed to the asbestos-containing brakes it made and sold. Indeed,PneumoAbex was involved in medical studies regarding the health effects of asbestos at Saranac Laboratory inNew York during the 1930s and 1940s and its Medical Director was a frequent speaker on asbestos health hazards during the 1940s. Despite its knowledge of the hazards of asbestos,PneumoAbex continued to sell asbestos-containing brakes until 1987. The jury found thatPneumoAbex defectively designed its brakes, failed to adequately warn consumers and customers of the dangers its brakes posed, and was negligent, all of which contributed to causing Mr. Smith’smesothelioma. The jury did not apportion liability to Sears. The jury awarded Mr. Smith $900,000 for his past and future medical expenses, $480,000 for his lost income and household services, and $2,500,000 for his pain and suffering. The jury also awarded Mary Lou Smith, his wife of over 44 years, $175,000 for her loss of her husband’s support and companionship.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith were represented at trial by Firm principal Phillip Harley and associates JustinBosl and MatthewThiel.