Widow Awarded $8.6 Million Asbestos Verdict

After overcoming years of impossible setbacks, the widow of a mesothelioma victim is awarded justice for her husband’s quiet suffering

At the end of the day this past Friday, a jury in Los Angeles found for plaintiffs Donna Saller and her daughters. They were awarded over $5 million in economic and non-economic damages, and $3.6 million in punitive damages, in an asbestos lawsuit on behalf of Mrs. Saller’s husband, William “Bill” Saller, who died of mesothelioma.

The Sallers’ case was originally tried many years ago and a defense verdict was reached. With the skill and dedication of plaintiffs’ counsel, the Sallers won the appeal, and after three long years and numerous delays, the case went to trial again.

Scott Frost, lead trial lawyer for the plaintiffs and partner at Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel, explained that “Today, a Los Angeles County jury gave Bill and Donna long-delayed justice. They also sent a strong message to corporate America that you cannot evade responsibility for unsafe products even if it takes many years. This is a great result for our justice system.”

On December 13, 2013, the Los Angeles county jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs against Mundet/Crown, Cork & Seal Company, Inc., the only defendant at trial. The Sallers were awarded $5,066,000 in damages and $3,600,000 in punitive damages for a total of $8,666,000.

Crown Cork & Seal is responsible for asbestos-containing thermal insulation manufactured, sold, distributed, and installed by the Mundet Cork Corporation. These products include finishing cement, block insulation, and pipe covering. Crown Cork & Seal acquired a controlling interest of Mundet in 1963, and the two companies were fully merged in 1966.

Mr. and Mrs. Saller met on a blind date and built a life and family together over their 50 years with one another. They were both public employees who saved and scraped so they could make his dream of living in the country a reality. Mrs. Saller really never wanted to move to the country, but as she told the jury, “when you love someone like I loved Bill you give them their dream.”

Mr. Saller contracted mesothelioma from asbestos dust through his work around Mundet thermal insulation at Standard Oil in El Segundo, California. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma in the U.S., which is a rare but terminal form of cancer with a long latency period.

In the end, Mrs. Saller brought Mr. Saller home to Paso Robles where he passed in his favorite chair overlooking the lake. Mr. Saller did not take pain medication except at the very end. A testifying expert said he had never seen someone who had not taken pain medication. Mr. Saller was a Marine, and he told his family he wanted to die like a Marine.

“Daily, we are moved by our clients’ stories,” said Michael Armitage, managing partner of Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel’s California office. “And after overcoming all of the challenges of this case, I am also very proud our attorneys’ work.” He continued, “We are pleased with this verdict but couldn’t be happier for the family.”

About Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel

Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel is a national plaintiffs’ law firm devoted to helping families in personal injury and wrongful death cases involving asbestos, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and birth defects and other injuries caused by toxic chemical exposure and semiconductor chip manufacturing. We also represent plaintiffs in qui tam whistleblower matters. Our attorneys have won record-setting verdicts, negotiated monumental settlements, and established ground-breaking new law in cases involving toxic exposure and defective products. Based in Dallas, Texas, with offices in California and Maryland, Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel has participated in the representation of families from all fifty states and many foreign countries, as well as foreign governments.

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