A 68 year-old California plumber/pipefitter and his wife today settled
their lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court for approximately $14,600,000
against companies who made asbestos containing products. Afflicted with
mesothelioma, an aggressive form of asbestos cancer, the career plumbing
contractor was represented by the law firm of Roger G. Worthington, P.C.
in San Pedro and by Simon, Eddins, and Greenstone, LLP in Long Beach.
This is one of the largest settlement amounts ever reached in a Los Angeles
mesothelioma case. It took just over nine months from the time the suit
was filed until the final settlement. Major defendants included asbestos-insulated
equipment manufacturers American Standard, Crane, Foster Wheeler, Weil
McClain, Yarway, Ingersoll-Rand, and Bell & Gossett.
The plaintiff was first exposed to asbestos-insulated equipment in the
early 1960's, working on heating equipment, pumps, valves, and boilers.
As a plumber in Massachusetts and later in California he was repeatedly
exposed to asbestos gaskets, packing, and insulation. This case shows
that solvent, viable defendants can be successfully brought to heel even
though most of the major asbestos insulation manufacturers have declared
According to lawyer Roger Worthington, "Innovative and aggressive
counsel with expertise in mesothelioma can still help clients with difficult
exposure histories get justice in the courts. Many of the equipment manufacturers
are new to the litigation and all of them disputed our theory that they
were liable as manufacturers of asbestos-containing equipment."
Worthington adds, "This is a classic case of a hard-working Californian
and family man poisoned by equipment manufacturers who didn't bother
to warn that their asbestos-insulated products were lethal, despite mountains
of scientific evidence proving that exposure to even tiny amounts of asbestos
is toxic. This sends a clear message to equipment manufacturers who put
asbestos in their products that they will be held accountable for their
negligence and conscious indifference," said Worthington.
The case, which settled before reaching a jury verdict, featured testimony
by thoracic surgeon Robert Cameron, M.D. According to Dr. Cameron's
testimony, "Like every puff of smoke increases your risk of lung
cancer, and each exposure to asbestos, whether small or big, leads to
an increased risk of mesothelioma." Dr. Cameron is the director of
the mesothelioma program at UCLA medical school. The plaintiff was treated
by Dr. Cameron, receiving a pleurectomy with decortication, radiation
treatment, and immunotherapy with interferon.
After the settlement was reached the plaintiff commented, "I'm
grateful for the hard work of Mr. Worthington and my attorneys but I'd
give it all back in a heartbeat to rid my body of mesothelioma forever."