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California Plumber Wins $14.6M Settlement. Los Angeles, CA

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 bankruptcy.

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."

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