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Asbestos Litigation

Walsworth regularly litigates high-exposure, emotionally charged cases involving catastrophic injuries and/or wrongful death. We use sophisticated approaches to complex cases that, at trial, “lower the temperature in the room,” and reduce the cases to simple stories that are easily understood by juries. More often than not, these cases involve multiple defendants and causation theories. Our strategies challenge the causation theories and/or shift liability to other parties, many times resulting in summary judgment or defense verdicts. Our in-depth knowledge and development of tested strategies in cases related to asbestos exposure truly set us apart. Over the course of many years, we have represented clients in excess of 30,000 asbestos cases.

Actively Defending our Clients

Our team works for many national and international corporations in the defense of asbestos litigation claims. Our numerous long-term clients appreciate the personal- and team-based litigation management system that we employ which helps to distinguish Walsworth. Our clients include distributors, manufacturers, contractors and premises owners in cases venued throughout the State of California and other jurisdictions. We also serve as regional and national counsel for a number of high-profile asbestos defendants. Representation of these varied clients requires our team to develop, implement and manage national as well as local defense strategies that most effectively serve each client.

The diversity of our clientele provides our team with a unique and broad perspective of the many key issues presented by asbestos litigation, including state-of-the-art knowledge, asbestos-related medicine, industrial hygiene, and specialized defenses available to each type of defendant we represent.

Early Assessment and Resolution

We work with our clients to investigate and evaluate cases, and cost-effectively manage large dockets from inception through discovery, motions and final resolution. We have dedicated lawyers who specialize in settlement negotiations and have longstanding working relationships with plaintiffs’ counsel to allow meet and confer efforts throughout the life of the case.

Trial-Ready

When trial is required by the facts and circumstances of the case, desired by our clients, or simply unavoidable, we have teams of highly skilled trial attorneys who have tried—and won—multi-week and multi-month cases involving multiple plaintiffs and defendants, highly emotional claims, and complex issues of causation. Our experience provides our clients with the confidence of knowing they have a partner that can and will successfully take a case to verdict. Our asbestos trial team has commenced trial in over 500 cases, at least 50 within the last three years.

Representative Successes

  • LaMonica v. Consumer Products Company – Secured a defense verdict for a worldwide consumer products company in a personal injury mesothelioma case alleging exposure from a personal care product allegedly tainted with asbestos and asbestos-containing joint compound products used on the job. After more than three months of trial, the jury returned a resounding 12-0 decision for our client.
  • DePree v. Wholesale Distributor – Secured a non-suit during trial for a wholesale distributor of talc that was used in the manufacture of other products in a case involving a maintenance man who developed mesothelioma.
  • Harkin v. Refinery Labor Company – Successfully secured a defense verdict for a refinery labor company in a personal injury mesothelioma case alleging exposure to asbestos during work at a San Francisco Bay area refinery. Following four weeks of trial, the jury found that no asbestos exposure was attributable to the defendant company.
  • Shackles v. Product Manufacturer – Obtained a non-suit during trial for one client, and settled the case favorably as to a related client immediately after the non-suit was granted, in a case involving mesothelioma purportedly caused by work with asbestos-cement pipe.
  • Rowberg v. Plumbing Supply Company – Secured a defense verdict for a plumbing supply company and its alleged predecessor entity in a wrongful death case following 17 days of trial. The plaintiff alleged the company supplied asbestos cement pipe to the plaintiff’s worksites, thereby exposing his wife to asbestos dust via his clothing. The wife subsequently contracted mesothelioma and passed away. Plaintiffs’ attorneys had asked the jury for $18 million.
  • Abbis v. Various Defendants – Obtained a defense verdict in a bifurcated trial for a large utility company in the case arising out of the plaintiff’s claim that he suffered from asbestosis as a result of exposure while working on client’s property.
  • Hudnall v. Various Defendants – Unanimous defense verdict for a construction site contractor in an action involving claim of exposure to asbestos by a career carpenter.
  • Schweitzer v. Various Defendants – Unanimous defense verdict for a large utility company in a confirmed mesothelioma case. The jury returned its verdict based on plaintiff’s failure to prove negligence against the premises owner.
  • Stark v. Various Defendants – Unanimous defense verdict in a bifurcated trial for a large utility company in an alleged asbestosis/pleural injury case.
  • Bercher v. Various Defendants – Defended an equipment manufacturer in a living mesothelioma case of a 73-year-old retired machinist who claimed exposure to asbestos while servicing auxiliary turbines. After a three-week trial, the jury voted in favor of defendants on the design defect question, but was unable to reach a verdict on plaintiff’s negligence claim. The jury was not persuaded that client had breached any duty, and the case concluded in a mistrial. Our client resolved favorably prior to the retrial.
  • Fortini v. Various Defendants – Secured a defense verdict for a manufacturer of a construction-related material in an asbestos matter involving a sympathetic plaintiff who passed away prior to judgment. The jury found no consumer defect, no failure to warn and no negligence.
  • Kelly v. Atlas Turner, Inc., et al. – Obtained a defense verdict for a construction-related materials manufacturer in a wrongful death case where the plaintiff alleged mesothelioma from exposure to the product.
  • Shaw v. Refractory Company – Successfully secured non-suit on behalf of a contractor in a case alleging exposure in San Francisco Bay Area refineries.
  • Flores v. Various Defendants – Obtained a defense verdict after a five-week trial involving a plaintiff with mesothelioma. Plaintiff sued a number of companies that manufactured or distributed the asbestos-containing products that were allegedly responsible for his disease. Although the plaintiff settled with many defendants, the four that went to verdict (including the client) were exonerated.