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62-year-old John “Mike” Nolen was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in March 2008. He was exposed to asbestos during two summers in 1965-1966 at Kaiser Steel, where he swept construction debris that contained asbestos particles from the insulation and components used in Kaiser’s cooling tower and waste heat generator. He was later briefly exposed to asbestos while employed full-time at Aerojet. Significant exposure came during a three-year tenure at Nalco Chemical. As a sales engineer, Nolen spent countless hours testing and inspecting boilers and water cooling equipment. Although he was not responsible for directly handling asbestos-containing parts, he was in close proximity to gaskets, insulation and packing materials and sometimes brushed against these components during inspection. Nolen testified to the many brands and components that he saw in his work. In assessing 20% liability for plaintiff’s terminal illness to Foster Wheeler, the jury found the defendant negligent for its failure to warn, and liable for defective product design.
January 1, 2009
$8.02M total award: $521,887 in economic damages, $2.5M for pain and suffering, $5.0M for loss for consortium
Foster Wheeler assessed 20% liability, plaintiff 0%
Punitive damages not considered by the jury
Jury awarded substantial damages and found substantial exposure to a worker who did not directly work with and remove asbestos, but whose job required him to regularly come into contact with asbestos specified by Foster Wheeler for use on oilers.
Cause no. BC 391 649
Nolen v. Allied Mineral, Inc. et. al.
Trial length: 3 weeks
Deliberation: 3 days
Los Angeles County, Calif., Superior Court, Dept. 36
Hon. Gregory W. Alarcon, presiding
Plaintiff’s Experts (live testimony)
Arnold Brody, M.D., cell biologist
Carl Brodkin, M.D., occupational and environmental medicine
Charles Ay, insulation expert
William Salyer, M.D., pathologist
Frank Parker, C.I.H., industrial hygienist
Defense Experts (live testimony)
Michael Graham, M.D., pathologist
Brent Zadorozny of Waters Kraus & Paul (LA)
Barrett Naman of DeLuca & Nemeroff, LLP (Spring, Texas)
Edward Hugo (lead) and Karleen Murphy of Brydon Hugo & Parker (SF)
Disclaimer – Results obtained depend on the facts of each case. Award amounts are not actual cash amounts received by plaintiffs. Deductions are made for liens, attorney fees and expenses.
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