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August 2019

Gordon & Rees Trial Teams Win Two Defense Verdicts in One Week

In the span of a single week, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani trial teams secured defense verdicts on behalf of clients Hennessy Industries, LLC and Colgate-Palmolive in California and Kentucky, respectively. These results demonstrate not only the skill and dedication of Gordon & Rees' trial lawyers, but the tremendous depth of the firm’s trial teams, enabling them to defend multiple clients in diverse jurisdictions.

Verdict # 1 - Hennessy Industries Wins Los Angeles Asbestos Trial

On July 29, Gordon & Rees attorneys Bob Rich and Rob Rodriguez won a complete defense verdict on behalf of Hennessy after a seven-week jury trial in Los Angeles Superior Court. The plaintiff Randolph Morton sought to hold Hennessy and Pneumo Abex liable for his stage IV lung cancer. There was no evidence at trial of any smoking history. Mr. Morton alleged that his lung cancer was caused by his use of AMMCO’s brake grinder in the 1960s, primarily in high school auto shop class from 1962-65. During trial, the plaintiffs argued that in the 1960s most passenger vehicle brakes contained asbestos, and that the medical and scientific community was well aware of the hazards associated with grinding such brakes. They further argued that AMMCO was effectively put on notice of such hazards and at a minimum should have warned its customers of the dangers associated with asbestos. The plaintiffs, represented by Simona Farrise and Trey Jones, sought in excess of $5 million in economic and non-economic damages, plus punitive damages.

Hennessy’s trial team argued that AMMCO acted reasonably and prudently throughout the relevant time period.  Hennessy also argued that Mr. Morton’s limited asbestos exposure from brakes was insufficient to increase his risk of developing lung cancer. The defense experts included Dr. Lucian Chirieac, Dr. Allan Feingold, Mary Finn, Ph.D (IH), and Dominik Alexander, Ph.D. (epidemiologist).  The plaintiff’s experts included Dr. Brody, Charlie Ay, Dr. Barry Castleman, and pulmonologist Dr. Barry Horn. 

The Santa Monica jury returned a defense verdict in favor of Hennessy and Pneumo Abex. 

Verdict # 2 -  Colgate Wins Kentucky’s First Cosmetic Talcum Powder Trial

On Friday, August 2,Gordon & Rees' trial team of Edward Slaughter, Quincy Jones, Mark Crapo, Andrea Holmgreen, and Maddie Wiarda received a complete defense verdict on behalf of client Colgate-Palmolive Company in the first cosmetic talcum powder trial in Kentucky. After a three-week trial in the Jefferson Circuit Court in Louisville, Kentucky, the jury returned a defense verdict for defendants Colgate-Palmolive Company and Johnson & Johnson after less than one hour of deliberation.

The plaintiff was represented by Joseph Satterley (Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood; Satterley & Kelley) and Paul Kelley (Satterley & Kelley—a local Kentucky firm). The plaintiff sued both Colgate-Palmolive Company and Johnson & Johnson claiming her mother’s death in 2016 was due to the inhalation of asbestos through her use of allegedly contaminated talcum powder. The plaintiff sought over $5 million in damages, not including punitive damages.

This is a significant victory, particularly considering the increase in talcum powder cases being filed against cosmetic talcum powder manufacturers and suppliers throughout the United States.


Mark D. Crapo
Quincy Ann Marie Jones
Robert A. Rich
Robert C. Rodriguez
Edward M. Slaughter



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