Harrison, et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., et al.

Date: September 9, 2016
Court: 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of 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.).