Parker Wins Defense Verdict for Asbestos Broker

Posted on Thursday, 17 February 2011


William and Jacqueline Webb v. Special Electric, Inc.: Los Angeles County
Superior Court, Case No. BC436063

Date of Trial: January 12, 2011 through February 17, 2011

Judge: Hon. John Shepard Wiley, Jr. LASC Dept. 50

Trial Counsel:

• Anthony Vieira, Campbell Filmer, of Paul Hanley LLP for
Plaintiffs William and Jacqueline Webb

• James C. Parker of HUGO PARKER, LLP for
Defendant Special Electric.

Court granted nonsuit/directed verdict on failure to warn and negligence theories; Los Angeles County Jury returned a 11-1 Defense Verdict on Design Defect.

Case Summary:
Plaintiff spent his entire career working for a plumbing parts distributor in Los Angeles, an occupation which included handling "Transite" pipe on a regular basis for over 10 years. At age 67, he contracted pleural mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the lining of the lungs. He and wife of 40 years sued several defendants, including Special Electric, which had arranged for the sale of crocidolite asbestos from a South African mine to Johns-Manville, the manufacturer of the Transite pipe. James Parker was lead trial counsel for Special Electric. By the time of jury selection, only three defendants remained: Special Electric, an automotive brake manufacturer and a retailer of automotive brakes. At trial, the brake defendants argued that the crocidolite asbestos supplied through Special Electric to J-M was the sole cause of plaintiff's mesothelioma. During closing arguments, the brake manufacturer settled. Special Electric brought motions for nonsuit and directed verdict but the court delayed ruling on those motions. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the brake retailer on all counts, and in favor of Special Electric on design defect, but against Special Electric on the failure to warn and negligence theories. As to those two counts, however, the Court then granted Special Electric's motions for nonsuit and directed verdict resulting in a complete defense verdict for Special Electric.

JURY TRIAL: Length, 21 days; Deliberation, 4 days

RESULT: The jury rendered a defense verdict (11-1) in favor of Special Electric on design defect; nonsuit and directed for Special Electric on all other causes of action.

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