HPTY Wins Bench Trial on Workers' Compensation Affirmative Defense

July 9, 2012

A former employee of Alcoa Inc. filed a living mesothelioma lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court. Plaintiff, who also served in the United States Navy, worked for Alcoa in the public relations department at two of its facilities in Texas from 1970 to 1973. Plaintiff attributed his disease, in part, to his employment with Alcoa. Refusing to acknowledge the impact of the employer-employee relationship, Plaintiff's counsel conducted rigorous discovery, filed numerous ex parte applications, and demanded $6.25 million in settlement up to the commencement of trial.

The Alcoa team (including Robert Thackston, Julia Gowin, Kathleen Benton and Sarah Christopher Foley in Los Angeles and Rob Gilbreath, Beverly Bond and Saxon Guerriere in Dallas) prepared a motion for bifurcation to try Alcoa's affirmative defense first. After a bench trial in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Brazile determined that Plaintiff was covered under Alcoa's workers' compensation policies and upheld the exclusivity provisions of the Texas Workers' Compensation Act.  Judgment was entered in favor of HPTY's client.

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