Woodard vs. Alfa Laval, Inc. et. al.

Case Summary

66-year-old Dennis Woodard was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma in January 2008. He was exposed to asbestos during a 32-month period aboard the USS Rogers as a machinist’s mate, and later as an electrician’s mate aboard the USS Salisbury Sound. His 8-month tour aboard the USS Rogers constituted the most acute exposure, where he daily worked in the ship’s boiler and engine rooms helping to repair and maintain a variety of steam lines, pumps, valves,and turbines. Crane Co. argued that the type and amount of asbestos (chrysotile) in their products would not have caused his illness, but pipe insulation manufactured by others likely would have. Defense also contended the U.S. Navy bore full responsibility for protecting its sailors. The jury found Crane Co. liable for its failure to warn.


February 2, 2009
$16.925M total award: $1.925M in economic damages, $12.5M for pain and suffering, $2.5M for loss of consortium
Approx. $2.0M assessed against Crane Co.
Crane Co. and 9 others assessed 0.5% liability. Sepco Corporation, 0%. U.S. Navy, 85%. Nonspecified insulation manufacturers, 10%
Punitive damages not considered by the jury


Plaintiff’s verdict in what was essentially a Navy bystander exposure case
Jury clearly held manufacturers responsible for failure to warn
Substantial economic damages awarded – thought to be one of the largest to date in LA County in an asbestos-mesothelioma case

Case Information

Cause No. BC 387 774
Woodard v. Alfa Laval, Inc. et al.
Trial length: 3 weeks
Deliberation: 2.5 days


Los Angeles County, Calif., Superior Court, Dept. 56
Hon. Jane L. Johnson, presiding

Plaintiff’s Experts (*live testimony, **video deposition)

*Arnold Brody, M.D., cell biologist
*Carl Brodkin, M.D., occupational and environmental medicine
**Roy Smythe, M.D., thoracic surgeon and plaintiff’s private physician
*Arnold Moore, Naval architecture and marine engineering expert (USN, ret.)

Defense Experts (live testimony)

Samuel Forman, M.D., occupational medicine
Michael Graham, M.D., pathologist
Adm. David P. Sargent, Jr. (USN, ret.), Navy expert
Frederick Boelter, C.I.H., industrial hygienist

Plaintiff’s Counsel

Gary Paul (lead), Kevin Loew and Jillian Rice of Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel (LA)
Daniel Wasserberg of Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas (Houston)

Defense Counsel

(Crane Co.) Geoffrey Davis and James Lee of K&L Gates (LA)
Sepco Corp.) Jerry Popovich of Selman Breitman (LA)

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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