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$4.4M Verdict in Asbestos Bowling Ball Trial Upheld on Appeal

Waters Kraus & Paul, national plaintiffs firm

Judge affirms ruling in favor of family of a former bowling alley owner who contracted mesothelioma after drilling asbestos-containing bowling balls for years.

LOS ANGELES –– The California Second Court of Appeal upheld the decision of a jury in awarding $4.4 million to the family of a former bowling alley owner, Donald Vanni.

The court found that the original evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s verdict finding asbestos supplier Honeywell International Inc. (Honeywell) responsible for Donald Vanni’s mesothelioma and death.

“Honeywell tried to evade responsibility, but the courts held the powerful company accountable for Donald Vanni’s death,” said Waters Kraus & Paul partner Michael Connett. “Justice has been upheld for the Vanni family.”

Donald Vanni and his brother co-owned and operated Arcata Bowl bowling alley in Arcata, Calif. for 30 years, from 1957 to 1986. During that period, Donald regularly drilled custom-fit finger holes in the bowling balls that the Arcata Bowl sold. Asbestos, used as a filler in plastic Ebonite bowling balls, was supplied by Honeywell in the form of discarded brake lining dust. The brake dust was the waste product of Honeywell’s Bendix brake manufacturing plant in Troy, New York.

Rather than pay money to safely dispose of this asbestos-laden waste, Honeywell opted to sell it as a filler in commercial products, including Ebonite bowling balls.  No one ever told the Vannis that the Ebonite balls contained asbestos. Donald was in good health until he was diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma in 2012. Donald died of mesothelioma in 2013, leaving behind two adult sons and his wife of 55 years.

On April 19, 2019, the jury awarded $4,397,716 to the Vanni family, finding Honeywell 40 percent liable.

Honeywell appealed the case claiming the verdict rested on unfounded speculation that Bendix exposed Vanni to asbestos and whether the verdict rests on unfounded expert opinions about caution. On Sept. 13, 2021 the judge affirmed the original finding in the case.  The Vannis were represented by Waters Kraus & Paul attorneys Sam Iola, Michael Connett and Jonathan George.

About Waters Kraus & Paul

Waters Kraus & Paul is a national plaintiffs’ law firm devoted to helping families in personal injury and wrongful death cases involving asbestos and mesothelioma, benzene exposure, dangerous pharmaceuticals and medical devices, birth defects caused by pesticides, toxic chemical, and semiconductor chip manufacturing. The law firm also represents plaintiffs in qui tam whistleblower matters and cases who uncover false claims submitted to the government. Based in Dallas, Texas, with offices in California, Louisiana, and by appointment in Illinois, Waters Kraus & Paul has represented families from all fifty states and many foreign countries, as well as foreign governments.

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