Client Dismissed After Four Month Mesothelioma Trial in Los Angeles County

August 2014

After four months of trial before the Hon. Cary H. Nishimoto in Torrance Superior Court (Los Angeles County), Robert Thackston and Paula Pendley received a dismissal for HPTY’s client, a supplier of gasket and packing products.  Plaintiff alleged his mesothelioma was caused, in part, by work with gaskets and packing from 1956 to 1980 at the Abadan and Tehran oil refineries in Iran.  Plaintiff was represented by Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C.

The dismissal followed favorable evidentiary rulings precluding much of Plaintiff’s testimony against HPTY’s client. Plaintiff’s experts were precluded from testifying that “each and every exposure above background” substantially contributed to Plaintiff’s risk of disease.  They were also precluded from offering hypotheticals about our client’s products contributing to Plaintiff’s cumulative dose of asbestos.  At HPTY’s request, the court took judicial notice of the Iranian Labour Code and related publications indicating that Plaintiff’s employers were legally required to take steps to protect their employees from asbestos and indicating that individuals of Plaintiff’s stature would not have conducted “hands-on” work at the refineries.  With no fact witnesses to corroborate Plaintiff’s testimony and no documents establishing that our client’s products were even present at the refineries, Plaintiff’s counsel chose not to risk a defense verdict.  

Plaintiff sued over 50 defendants in his complaint. At the time of dismissal, HPTY’s client was the only remaining defendant.  The trial team was assisted by Julia A. Gowin and Andrew Russell.

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