Defense Verdict for Volkswagen in Household Exposure Trial

September 9, 2016
St. Louis, Missouri

ST. LOUIS, September 9, 2016 – Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP (HPTY), a national litigation firm, secured a defense verdict in the City of St. Louis, Missouri, on behalf of Volkswagen Group of America. Volkswagen was represented in trial by Tracy J. Cowan of HPTY’s St. Louis office. Michael Brown of Miles & Stockbridge PC was co-counsel. 

The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri jury returned a defense verdict after deliberating for less than six hours. Judge Steven Ohmer presided over the four-week trial.

Plaintiff, Donna Harrison, alleged she developed mesothelioma as a result of “take-home” asbestos exposure from her husband’s clothes. Plaintiff’s husband was an automotive mechanic who worked for Volkswagen dealerships in St. Louis and Omaha from 1969-75 and a dealership in Omaha from 1983-85 that sold Ford and Porsche and Audi (both for which Plaintiff claimed Volkswagen was responsible).

After the court denied directed verdict on punitive damage claims, Plantiffs’ counsel asked for approximately $3.5 million in economic, pain and suffering, and then another $26 million in punitive damages, arguing Volkswagen was 75% liable. 

Plaintiffs’ experts were Arnold Brody, Ph.D., molecular biology; Carl Brodkin, M.D., occupational medicine; John Maddox, M.D., pathology; and Steven Haber, M.D., pulmonology.

Defendants’ experts were David Garabrant, M.D., epidemiology; James Crapo, M.D., pulmonology; John Henshaw, CIH, industrial hygiene; Allan Feingold, M.D., pulmonology; and Tim Oury, M.D., pathology.

Plaintiffs’ counsel was Jessica Dean of Dean Omar Branham in Dallas.

Other defendants remaining at the verdict included Ford Motor Company and Honeywell.

Harrison, et al. v. Volkswagen Group of North America, Inc., et al., Case No. 1522-CC09759-01 (Mo. 22nd Jud. Cir. Ct.).

About Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP 

Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP is a national litigation firm with more than 150 lawyers in nine offices located in Atlanta, Austin, Charleston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Napa, New York, St. Louis and San Francisco. We have been the nation’s innovative leader in asbestos litigation since 1976. Over the past 40 years we have represented every type of asbestos defendant from the mine to the finished product. We serve clients as local, regional and national counsel and provide solutions that cannot be duplicated by less experienced firms. Having litigated in all 50 states, we have taken over 400 asbestos cases to verdict while acting as lead counsel and have taken the lead or participated in over 10,000 fact and expert depositions.


Practice Areas