Swasey, et al. v. Asbestos Companies, et al.

Date: September 22, 2015
Court: Superior Court of California, Alameda County

On September 22, 2015, HPTY’s client, a manufacturer of brake linings, received a defense verdict in a case involving a career automotive mechanic and former Navy engineman. Although Plaintiffs initially sued over 30 defendants, the trial started on July 27, 2015 with 11 defendants, and concluded at verdict with 4 defendants - a brake lining manufacturer, a vehicle manufacturer, an automotive part supplier, and an arcing machine manufacturer.

Mr. Swasey served in the U.S. Navy on board the U.S.S. St. Clair County from 1962-1965 and was in the Navy reserves from 1965-1968. He also stood fire watch aboard the ship during a 6-month FRAM overhaul at Long Beach Naval Shipyard in 1964. After leaving the Navy, Mr. Swasey worked as an automotive mechanic from 1965 until his retirement in 2006.

Edward Slaughter of the Dallas office, Macy Chan of the Los Angeles office, and Alex Taheri of the San Francisco office tried the case for HPTY's client and were assisted at trial by Brandon Maxey, Andrea Holmgreen and Jeana Simmons. The Hon. Wynne S. Carvill presided over the trial in Oakland, CA.  At the end of closing argument, Plaintiff's counsel (Jessica Dean of Dean, Omar & Branham) asked the jury to award over $30 million dollars in compensatory damages. After two and a half days of deliberations, the 11 men and one woman jury returned a defense verdict for all four defendants standing at verdict, including HPTY's client.

Jessica Dean and Amin Omar of Dean, Omar & Branham in Dallas, associated in with Roger Gold of the Gold Law Firm, tried the case for the Plaintiffs. Michael Brown of Miles & Stockbridge, PC and Alice Johnston of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis tried the case for the vehicle manufacturer defendant, James Parker of Hugo Parker tried the case for the automotive part supplier, and Robert Rich and Samuel Jubelirer of Gordon & Rees tried the case for the arcing machine.

Defense experts included John Henshaw, CIH, Dr. David Garabrant, and Dr. James Crapo. Plaintiff's experts included Dr. Arnold Brody, Dr. Edwin Holstein, Dr. Barry Horn, Dr. Christopher Stephenson, Carol Hyland, and James Mills. Charlie Ay also testified as a fact witness regarding the FRAM overhaul of the USS St. Clair County at Long Beach Naval Shipyard in 1964 - an overhaul with which Charlie Ay was personally involved as an asbestos worker.

Case No:  RG15-758585; Steve and Virginia Swasey v. Asbestos Companies, et al.

Media Coverage: Law360  |  HarrisMartin  |  Defense Research Institute

Attorneys