San Pedro, CA, May 29, 2014 – The
Worthington & Caron Law Firm is pleased to announce that a jury in Fresno,California has returned a
substantial verdict in favor of our clients, the family of James ‘Jimmy’ Phillips,
deceased, a 59 year-old plumber and race car enthusiast.
Defendant Honeywell, whose predecessor, Bendix, made asbestos-containing
brake pads and linings, was the only defendant at trial. The jury awarded
$7.4 million in compensatory damages and assigned 30% of fault to Bendix.
The jury also found that Bendix acted with reckless indifference and awarded
an additional $3.5 million in punitive damages. This was the first mesothelioma
verdict ever awarded in Fresno.
The lawsuit was originally filed in May of 2012 in Alameda County, California.
The defendants fought to transfer venue to Fresno, where they anticipated
a more “defense-friendly” jury pool. The Fresno jury deliberated
six days before rendering its verdict in favor of the Phillips family.
The trial team of Stuart Purdy and Rob Green (attorneys with co-counsel
Simon, Greenstone, Panatier, Bartlett) did an outstanding job putting
on a strong case against a very tough defendant in a new jurisdiction.
According to Rob Green, "Jim was always the guy the family and community
called on to help them out when something went wrong. It was an honor
to help out Jim and his family. Our trial was straightforward. We explained
what science, medicine and common sense told us, and what every reputable
expert in the field agreed with, about this defendant’s asbestos
products. The jury understood it and held them accountable.”
Jimmy was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma in March of 2012.
After nearly 11 months of treatment, Jimmy passed away from his asbestos-caused cancer.
Purdy and Green presented evidence that Jimmy was exposed to asbestos dust
from automotive products while working on cars, race cars, trucks and
heavy equipment beginning in the 1960s
John Caron of Worthington & Caron notes, “How many men like Jim
spent time as a teenager working part-time at a service station or doing
shade tree work on their cars? This was a virtual rite of passage in our
car-crazed nation in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Unfortunately, this little
slice of Americana had deadly consequences for Jim and many others because
of the asbestos that manufacturers like Bendix included in their products.
We applaud the Fresno jury for holding Bendix accountable for its role
in causing the nightmare the Phillips family has been living since Jim’s
|Charity and Jimmy Phillips
Jimmy leaves behind Charity, his wife 41 years, five children and fourteen
grandchildren. The family has chosen to work through their loss by banding
together to help others in their battle against cancer. On May 24, Kourtni
McLaughlin, one of Jimmy’s daughters, organized the 1st Annual “Jimmy’s
Golf Tournament” in Mariposa, California. The tournament was an
incredible success. A small army of friends and family helped raise over
$12,000, half of which was donated to support mesothelioma research at the
Pacific Meso Center in Los Angeles, California. The other half will be distributed to local
families battling cancer and towards a college scholarship at the local
Worthington & Caron are proud to be Gold Sponsors of the 1st Annual
Jimmy's Golf Tournament, and look forward to many more years of supporting
this worthy fundraiser that honors an outstanding man.
Charity is extremely grateful and thankful to all of her attorneys. “I
am so proud of Stu and Rob. They never backed down, for Jimmy. The entire
legal team was so supportive, both with any legal issues as well as personal
issues. Those boys fought long and hard for Jimmy. I consider them a part
of my family now. I miss them!”