Trial Outcomes Shift the Landscapes in Mass Tort Litigation – Another Example from Asbestos Li
One of the challenges of mass tort litigation is that the landscape shifts in ways that no one can control because other defendants and plaintiffs take cases to trial and create results. The point is highlighted yet again by some of this week’s news in asbestos litigation in the US.
In Miami, the Defense Research Institute is holding its annual conference on asbestos litigation. It’s a quality gathering and hundreds of defense lawyers and insurance company representatives show up to learn, network and have some fun. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, a Los Angeles jury returned another large verdict for compensatory and punitive damages in a mesothelioma case, as described in the press release partially pasted below:
"Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) November 08, 2012
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury has awarded a $48 million verdict to a mesothelioma patient and his family after finding a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, Union Carbide, Riverside Cement, CalPortland and others responsible for the asbestos exposure that led to the patient’s mesothelioma. This is the largest mesothelioma verdict in California in 2012 so far. Baron and Budd mesothelioma attorneys John Langdoc and Christine Tamer represented the mesothelioma patient throughout the trial (Bobbie Izell, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., Los Angeles County, Case No. 4674).
During the trial, Union Carbide presented several paid expert witnesses who argued that the company’s asbestos –trade named “Calidria asbestos” –does not cause cancer. However, according to court documents, confidential internal memos have revealed that even Union Carbide staff physicians reprimanded the company’s marketing and sales groups for telling customers its asbestos did not cause disease, even cancer.
Two other defendants involved in the trial, Riverside Cement and CalPortland, also hired expert witnesses to testify that the amount of asbestos released from their products was trivial.
However, according to court documents, bags of their construction products have been scientifically shown to have quadrillions of fibers of asbestos material.
While the jury found blame with all of the defendants, they assigned $18 million in punitive damages to Union Carbide for its corporate cover-up of the dangers associated with asbestos exposure."