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December 2015

Gordon & Rees Team Secures Defense Verdict in Mesothelioma Case after Lengthy Trial

Gordon & Rees partners James Scadden and Robert Rich from the Oakland office, with senior counsel Kevin Whelan from the Orange County office obtained a defense verdict after a five week trial in Los Angeles for their client, a manufacturer of a brake arc grinding machines.  Samuel Jubelirer, an associate in the Oakland office assisted with extensive briefing regarding numerous evidentiary issues that arose during this hotly contested trial.  Able and ample support was rendered by the Office Services group in Los Angeles.
 
In this wrongful death action brought by his widow and two adult sons, it was alleged that the decedent, a professional brake mechanic, had been exposed to asbestos released when he used the brake arc machine to grind asbestos containing brake linings used during brake replacements.  The testimony was that the decedent used the arc grinding machine as many as eight times each day during his entire career spanning at least 17 years from 1969 to 1986.  Decedent died at age 70 of mesothelioma, a diagnosis which the defendants contested. 
 
Plaintiffs counsel called a total of eight expert witnesses, as well as each of the three plaintiffs.  The Gordon & Rees team, representing the only defendant involved in the trial, called a representative of the corporate client and two experts.  After deliberating for more than two days the jury returned a complete defense verdict, rejecting each of plaintiff’s five separate causes of action.
 

Robert A. Rich
James G. Scadden
Kevin E. Whelan



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