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Six-week class amid renovation site in 1974 led to fatal illness

Amount:

$8,114,166.79

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

Maryland

Venue:

Baltimore City

Court:

Baltimore City, Circuit Court

Injury Type(s):

other-radiation therapy; cancer-lung; cancer-chemotherapy; cancer-mesothelioma; pulmonary/respiratory-asbestosis

Case Type:

Toxic Torts - Asbestos; Products Liability - Asbestos, Failure to Warn, Strict Liability

Case Name:

Patrick Rossello v. Union Carbide Corporation, John Crane-Houdaille, Inc., E. L. Stebbings & Company, Universal Refractories Company, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., MCIC, Inc., CBS Corporation f/k/a Westinghouse Electric, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., A. W. Chesterton Company, Certainteed Corporation, Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., International Paper Company, Bayer Cropscience Inc., Cooper Industries Inc., Pfizer Corporation, Schneider Electric USA, Inc., Foster Wheeler LLC, The Wallace & Gale Asbestos Settlement, Crown Cork & Seal Company, Inc., Georgia Pacific Corporation, Koppers Company, Inc., Greene, Tweed & Co., Phelps Packing And Rubber Co., and Jennings H Mitchell & Son, Inc., No. 24X14000378

Date:

April 29, 2016

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Patrick Rossello (Male, 61 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Gary J. Ignatowski; Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, PC; Baltimore, MD, for Patrick Rossello ■ William G. Minkin; Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, PC; Baltimore, MD, for Patrick Rossello ■ Andrew M. Cantor; Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, PC; Towson, MD, for Patrick Rossello ■ James S. Zavakos; Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, PC; Baltimore, MD, for Patrick Rossello ■ Liz Ciociola; Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, PC; Baltimore, MD, for Patrick Rossello

Plaintiff Expert(s):

John Maddox; M.D.; Pathology; Newport News, VA called by: Gary J. Ignatowski, William G. Minkin, Andrew M. Cantor, James S. Zavakos, Liz Ciociola ■ David Rosner; Ph.D.; Asbestos; New York, NY called by: Gary J. Ignatowski, William G. Minkin, Andrew M. Cantor, James S. Zavakos, Liz Ciociola ■ Steve Hayes; Industrial Hygiene; Nashville, TN called by: Gary J. Ignatowski, William G. Minkin, Andrew M. Cantor, James S. Zavakos, Liz Ciociola ■ Arnold Brody; M.D.; Asbestos-related Lung Disease; Raleigh, NC called by: Gary J. Ignatowski, William G. Minkin, Andrew M. Cantor, James S. Zavakos, Liz Ciociola ■ Arthur Frank; M.D.; Occupational Medicine; Philadelphia, PA called by: Gary J. Ignatowski, William G. Minkin, Andrew M. Cantor, James S. Zavakos, Liz Ciociola ■ Jerome Paige; Ph.D.; Economics; Baltimore, MD called by: Gary J. Ignatowski, William G. Minkin, Andrew M. Cantor, James S. Zavakos, Liz Ciociola ■ William Longo; Ph.D.; Materials Science; Norcross, GA called by: Gary J. Ignatowski, William G. Minkin, Andrew M. Cantor, James S. Zavakos, Liz Ciociola

Defendant(s):

MCIC, Inc., 

CBS Corporation, 

Foster Wheeler LLC, 

Pfizer Corporation, 

Greene, Tweed & Co., 

Koppers Company, Inc., 

Bayer Cropscience Inc., 

Cooper Industries Inc., 

Certainteed Corporation, 

Lloyd E. Mitchell, Inc., 

A. W. Chesterton Company, 

E. L. Stebbings & Company, 

Union Carbide Corporation, 

John Crane-Houdaille, Inc., 

Georgia Pacific Corporation, 

International Paper Company, 

Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., 

Schneider Electric USA, Inc., 

Phelps Packing And Rubber Co., 

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 

Universal Refractories Company, 

Crown Cork & Seal Company, Inc., 

Jennings H Mitchell & Son, Inc., 

Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 

The Wallace & Gale Asbestos Settlement

Defense Attorney(s):

None reported.; for MCIC, Inc., CBS Corporation, Foster Wheeler LLC, Pfizer Corporation, Greene, Tweed & Co., Koppers Company, Inc., Bayer Cropscience Inc., Cooper Industries Inc., Certainteed Corporation, A. W. Chesterton Company, E. L. Stebbings & Company, Union Carbide Corporation, John Crane-Houdaille, Inc., Georgia Pacific Corporation, International Paper Company, Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., Schneider Electric USA, Inc., Phelps Packing And Rubber Co., The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Universal Refractories Company, Crown Cork & Seal Company, Inc., Jennings H Mitchell & Son, Inc., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., The Wallace & Gale Asbestos Settlement ■ Jason R. Waters; Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP; McLean, VA, for Lloyd E. Mitchell, Inc. ■ Helyna M. Haussler; Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP; McLean, VA, for Lloyd E. Mitchell, Inc.

Facts:

In 1974, plaintiff Patrick Rossello, in his 20s at the time, was participating in a six-week training program for a position as a bank manager. The classes were held in a large bank building that was undergoing major renovations on two of its floors. A contactor on the job was Lloyd E. Mitchell Inc., which was allegedly applying and sanding a Georgia-Pacific Ready Mix joint compound containing asbestos. In 2013, Rossello was diagnosed with mesothelioma, at age 61. Rossello sued Lloyd E. Mitchell Inc. (LEMI) under the Maryland products liability statute on a theory of strict liability and failure to warn. Also named as defendants were a host of asbestos product manufacturers and distributors that were alleged to have supplied LEMI with the asbestos-containing products used by LEMI at the construction site. Rossello asserted that the source of his asbestos exposure was the time he spent in training at the Baltimore construction site back in 1974. LEMI is a corporation that formerly operated a mechanical contracting business in the Baltimore metropolitan area. Since it ceased operations, in 1976, and liquidated its operating assets, it has been primarily consumed by defending against asbestos-related personal injury claims. In addition to the contracting services it provided, LEMI has been legally construed as a wholesaler of many of the asbestos-laden products it used in its construction work, a factor that has resulted in products liability suits such as the one brought by Rossello. At the conclusion of discovery, it was determined that two of the other named defendants, Georgia Pacific and Union Carbide, were likely suppliers of asbestos products used by LEMI during the period relevant to the lawsuit. LEMI asserted cross-claims against those two companies. Georgia Pacific and Union Carbide entered into confidential settlements with Rossello and the case proceeded to trial against LEMI. At the end of the plenary portion of the trial, the trial judge ruled that the cross-claims brought by LEMI were proven and, accordingly, any damages award entered against LEMI would be reduced by two-thirds, pursuant to applicable portions of the Maryland products liability law concerning joint and several liability. LEMI denied liability. It contended that its work on the construction site where Rossello was allegedly exposed to airborne asbestos products did not involve asbestos products and was, in this instance, mostly plumbing work.

Injury:

Rossello was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2013, at the age of 61. Following his diagnosis and through the time of trial, Rossello had undergone numerous surgical procedures involving resection of a lung (segmentectomy), grafting of tissue taken from the diaphragm to the lung, and fluid-draining procedures. He had also undergone extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. It was the opinion of Rossello's treating physicians that Rossello was a remarkably responsive patient, but his prognosis was nevertheless terminal, as invariably is the case with mesothelioma. (Most mesothelioma patients die within six to 12 months of diagnosis.) Rossello himself was permitted to testify that his doctors told him that, at best, he might expect to see two more summers.

Result:

The jury found that LEMI was strictly liable due to its failure to warn for Rossello's exposure to asbestos resulting in his contracting mesothelioma. The jury returned a damages award totaling $8,114,166.79. Pursuant to applicable law, the trial judge reduced the damages award by two-thirds due to the directed liability verdict in favor of LEMI as to its cross-claims against the settling defendants Georgia Pacific and Union Carbide. Judgment was entered against LEMI in the sum of $2,682,847.26

Patrick Rossello; $354,167 Personal Injury: Past Medical Cost; $7,500,000 Personal Injury: past and future pain and suffering; $260,000 Personal Injury: lost wages

Actual Award:

$2,682,847.26

Trial Information:

Judge:

Pamela L. North

Trial Length:

7  hours

Trial Deliberations:

2.5  hours

Jury Vote:

6-0

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel. Defense counsel for Lloyd E. Mitchell Inc. declined to contribute to the report.