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$208 Million: Largest Jury Verdict in CA Single Mesothelioma Case History

Rhoda Evans and Bobby Evans v. A.W. Chesterton et al.,
Los Angeles Superior Case No: BC418867

Case filed: July 29, 2009
Court: Superior Court of Los Angeles
Judge: Conrad Aragon
Trial Date: March 22, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.

Opening: 4/1/2010
Closing: 4/26/2010
Verdict: 4/29/2010

Largest Jury Verdict in Single CA Mesothelioma Case:

A Los Angeles jury awarded over $200 million in combined compensatory and punitive damages to a 71 year old woman suffering from mesothelioma and her family. Rhoda Evans, and her husband, Bobby Evans, were awarded at total of $8,821,015 in compensation for the family’s economic loss and for Rhoda’s pain and suffering. The total of the mesothelioma verdicts was $208,821,015.

Mrs. Evans contracted mesothelioma from the asbestos dust that her husband brought home on his work uniform every day during the early 1970s. At the time, Mr. Evans was an employee of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and his regular job duties included cutting asbestos cement pipe for the City and County of Los Angeles.

Neither Mrs. Evans nor Mr. Evans were aware of the asbestos hazard at the time. Certainteed manufactured the asbestos cement water pipe. Certainteed knew about the risk of getting mesothelioma from the release of asbestos fibers while cutting its water pipe. Certainteed also knew about the risk of getting mesothelioma when exposed in low doses and was aware of the risk to household members from exposure to the clothes of family members working with their product. Certainteed failed to warn users of the mesothelioma risk.

Verdict Information:

The jury found in favor of Rhoda Evans. Mrs. Evans was awarded $6,821,015 in compensatory damages and Mr. Evans $2,000,000 in Loss of Consortium. CertainTeed was held 70% liable and the DWP 30%.The following day (4/29/2010), the jury found CertainTeed alone responsible for $200 million in punitive damages.

Total verdict: $208,821,015

* In the April 25, 2011 edition of The Recorder’s Top Verdicts, the Evans’ case received the 4th top verdict.

Exposure:

Mr. Evans worked for the DWP from approximately 1973 -1998. CertainTeed Corporation supplied asbestos-containing pipe to the DWP from 1974 through 1998. While installing and maintaining water mains in Los Angeles, he encountered asbestos-cement pipe. He beveled, cut and chipped asbestos cement pipe with a saw and/or other tools, bundled them together, moved materials, and loaded and unloaded them on and off delivery trucks. Mr. Evans not only worked directly with asbestos cement pipe, but also around others who preformed similar duties.

He was responsible for cleaning up after this type of work had been completed; Mr. Evans collected, swept and disposed of the dust, shavings and other debris that came from the asbestos-cement pipe. The airborne fibers adhered to his clothing. Throughout his employment, asbestos fibers adhered to and contaminated Bobby’s work uniform and were transferred by way of his work uniform into his personal vehicle and then into his family home. Rhoda handled and washed Bobby’s work clothes daily. Through this exposure, Rhoda inhaled and ingested asbestos fibers.