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Los Angeles Jury Awards $4.8 Million in Mesothelioma Case Against Old Spice Talc Supplier Whittaker Clark & Daniels

The Worthington & Caron Law Firm is pleased to report that on April 15 and 16, 2021, a Los Angeles jury returned verdicts totaling $4.8 million in favor of our client Willie McNeal Jr. in a case entitled McNeal Jr. vs. Whittaker, Clark & Daniels (Los Angeles Superior Court Case Number BC698965).

The fact that Mr. McNeal's case was the first civil jury trial in L.A. County since the onset of the pandemic a year ago, rank this as an especially hard-fought victory.

Mr. McNeal, a 78-year-old Vietnam veteran, retired school bus driver, and current grandfather, was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. Mr. McNeal's cancer, malignant pleural mesothelioma, is the "signature" cancer caused by asbestos.

Through his legal counsel, Worthington & Caron, PC and Simon Greenstone Panatier, PC, Mr. McNeal filed a lawsuit against several companies responsible for the products involved in Mr. McNeal's asbestos exposures. After three years of litigation, including lengthy delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. McNeal's case was resolved against all defendants except for one, longtime talc supplier, Whittaker, Clark & Daniels ("WCD").

Mr. McNeal used Old Spice powder as part of his daily personal care routine for 22 years. Like other consumers of talc-based personal care products, such as baby powder, cologne or perfume-scented powder, powdered makeup, and medicated powder, Mr. McNeal had no idea that the cooling, comforting product was exposing him to toxic asbestos.

Trial attorneys Stuart Purdy and Tyson Gamble presented evidence that the Old Spice powder favored by Mr. McNeal contained talc from WCD's North Carolina mine, known to be contaminated with asbestos. On April 15, the jury found WCDs talc to be a substantial cause of Mr. McNeal's mesothelioma and awarded over $1.8 million in compensatory damages. The following day, the jury awarded an additional $3 million in punitive damages as "punishment" for WCDs disregard for Mr. McNeal's safety and well-being.

Despite the unprecedented challenges of seeking justice during a pandemic, we are proud of Mr. McNeal's victory and will continue our efforts to hold asbestos talc manufacturers and suppliers accountable for their role in causing harm.

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