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Levin Simes LLP Attorney Wins $830,000 Verdict on Behalf of Catering Truck Driver Exposed to Asbestos

Robert Gray was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May of 2010. Mr. Gray, who was 83 years old at the time of his diagnosis, had been a cook and catering truck operator for much of his working life. At the time of his diagnosis, Mr. Gray had no personal knowledge that he had ever worked with or around asbestos or asbestos-containing products.

Fortunately, Mr. Gray and his wife Norma contacted LEVIN SIMES, LLP. The attorneys and investigators at LEVIN SIMES, LLP immediately went to work reconstructing Mr. Gray’s work history. The investigation revealed that between 1972 and 1990, Mr. Gray worked a catering truck route in Van Nuys, CA, which included twice daily visits to the parking lot of a manufacturing plant operated by Highland Stucco & Lime Products, Inc. (“Highland Stucco”). The investigation further revealed that for a portion of that time Highland Stucco was blending raw asbestos and other asbestos-containing raw materials into many of the products it manufactured at the plant.

At trial, Highland Stucco’s attorneys argued that because Mr. Gray did not personally handle Highland Stucco’s asbestos-containing products and because of his proximity to the manufacturing portion of the plant, Mr. Gray’s exposure to asbestos, if any, would have been negligible. Highland Stucco also argued that Mr. Gray’s disease was most likely “idiopathic” which means without an identifiable cause.

LEVIN SIMES, LLP attorney Sean Worsey tried the case on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Gray, and presented testimony from a Certified Industrial Hygienist demonstrating that Mr. Gray was likely exposed to significant and unsafe levels asbestos during his twice daily interactions with Highland Stucco’s workers. Plaintiffs’ counsel also presented medical and scientific evidence demonstrating that even very low levels of asbestos exposure can substantially increase the risk of mesothelioma in susceptible persons.

The Verdict

The jury found that Mr. Gray was exposed to asbestos during his visits to Highland Stucco, and that the exposure was a substantial factor contributing to his mesothelioma. The jury ultimately found Highland Stucco liable for failing to warn Mr. Gray about the hazards of asbestos that were then known or knowable to Highland Stucco through the use of scientific knowledge.

The Award

The jury awarded a total of $830,000 to Mr. and Mrs. Gray, including: $600,000 for Mr. Gray’s pain and suffering: $100,000 for Mrs. Gray’s loss of consortium; and $130,000 for past and future medical expenses. Highland Stucco was found 100% at fault.