Jury Awards $18M to Retired City Government Official
The Worthington Caron Law Firm is pleased to report that on October 19,
2016, a Los Angeles jury awarded $18,070,000 to our clients in a case entitled
Depoian v. American International Industries, Inc. et al. (Los Angeles
Superior Court Case Number BC607192).
Mr. Depoian was diagnosed with peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma in May
2015 at the age of 67. He had recently retired after a 34-year career
in Los Angeles City government, serving as Special Counsel to the Mayor
and Executive Director for Government and External Affairs of Los Angeles
Throughout his childhood, Mr. Depoian’s father worked as a barber,
cutting hair at barbershops and, for friends and family, at the family
home. His father used talcum powder (Clubman and Kings Men brands) as
a finishing touch when he cut Mr. Depoian’s hair.
Mr. Depoian personally used body and shave talc products (Mennen, Old Spice
and Faberge brands) while working as a government official, especially
when he travelled, in the 1970s and 1980s.
Mr. Depoian, like all other consumers of talc products, had every reason
to believe that the products were safe. However, the tragic fact is that
the talc in many of these products was contaminated with asbestos.
For decades, asbestos exposure and asbestos cancer were typically associated
with workers in industrial trades or the Navy. In recent years, many men
and women with no connection whatsoever to industrial trades or the Navy
have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other forms of asbestos illness.
In many cases, their only exposure was to asbestos-contaminated talc in
cosmetic talc products.
Through their legal counsel, Worthington & Caron, PC and Simon Greenstone
Panatier Bartlett, PC, Mr. and Ms. Depoian filed a lawsuit against 19
companies in January 2016. Settlements were reached with a number of companies
before and during the trial which began in September 2016. By the time
the case was submitted to the jury only one defendant, Whittaker, Clark
& Daniels, remained.
On October 19, the jury returned a verdict of $18,070,000 in favor of Mr.
and Ms. Depoian. The jury assigned 30% of fault to Whittaker, Clark &
Daniels. The jury also found that the company acted with malice, triggering
a second phase of trial to address punitive damages. However, before trial
was to resume, the company reached a confidential settlement with Mr.
and Ms. Depoian.
"Whittaker was the largest talc supplier in the country and was certifying
that its product contained no asbestos, but its testing was inadequate
and its certification false and misleading," said trial attorney
The verdict is believed to be the largest award on record for a mesothelioma
claim linked to asbestos-contaminated cosmetic talc.