Hirschberg Mattison Sorey Asbestos Verdict

$14.0M Awarded to 3 Plaintiffs Who Developed Mesothelioma Resulting From Asbestos Exposure at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard

PHILADELPHIA – April 22, 2009 – A Philadelphia jury has awarded $14 million to three plaintiffs in separate product liability cases involving occupational exposure to asbestos. The jury found that the plaintiffs’ lethal diagnoses of malignant pleural mesothelioma were attributable to their career tenures in the U.S. Navy as well as at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

The cases – Hirschberg vs. Alfa Laval, Inc.; Mattison vs. Alfa Laval, Inc.; and Sorey vs. Alfa Laval, Inc. – were consolidated and tried together in a reverse bifurcated proceeding. A fourth case, Bussato vs. A.W. Chesterton, Inc., was tried concurrently with the Waters & Kraus /Shein Law Center cases by DeLuca & Nemeroff, LLP (of Spring, Texas). It also resulted in a plaintiff’s victory.

The WK verdicts included $6.0 million for Mr. Hirschberg; $4.0 million for Mr. Mattison; and $4.0 million for Mr. Sorey. Diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2007, Mr. Mattison lived to hear the verdict, although he was too ill to testify or attend trial. Mr. Hirschberg and Mr. Sorey both died in 2008 within six months of diagnosis.

In Phase I of the trial, the jury agreed with medical evidence that all three plaintiffs – Robert Hirschberg, Robert Mattison, and Walter “Mike” Sorey – suffered from malignant mesothelioma. The jury’s decision also validated that the devastating illness resulted from exposure to asbestos-containing pumps, valves, gaskets, packing and other equipment components aboard the various vessels the men worked on while employed at the shipyard.

The Mattison case proceeded to the Phase II liability proceeding, which was a bench trial. The court found John Crane Inc., the lone remaining defendant at Phase II, liable for Mr. Mattison’s illness. The judge assigned a prorated 12.5 percent liability to the manufacturer, who was one of eight defendants at the trial’s start.

“We are very pleased with the verdicts,” said Troyce Wolf, one of the lead trial attorneys and WK partner. “We all recognize while the favorable verdicts could not save these men,” continued lead counsel and Shein Law Center principal Ben Shein, “the judgments handed down today will help to bring closure to three long-suffering families. Justice was served today.”

About Waters & Kraus, LLP
Waters & Kraus, LLP, is a plaintiffs’ firm concentrating on complex product liability and personal injury/wrongful death cases. The firm’s diverse practice includes toxic tort (asbestos and mesothelioma) litigation, pharmaceutical product liability, negligence, and consumer product liability, as well as qui tam (whistle-blower), and commercial litigation. With offices in Texas, California, and Maryland, Waters & Kraus has litigated cases in jurisdictions across the United States on behalf of individuals from all 50 states, as well as foreign governments.

About Shein Law Center, LTD
Shein Law Center is a plaintiffs’ firm specializing in personal injury law. Based in Philadelphia, the firm has extensive litigation experience in asbestos and mesothelioma injury, defective products, medical malpractice, defective drugs, and crashworthiness, as well as chemical exposure risks – including benzene, manganese, beryllium, Teflon®, mercury, toxic mold and pesticides.

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