SF Jury Finds Chrysotile Asbestos Causes Rare Peritoneal Mesothelioma
San Francisco, CA — November 16, 2005 — A jury awarded over $1.9 million to a 71–year–old retired sheet metal worker, Genaro Garcia, who developed peritoneal mesothelioma from his prior on–the–job exposure to asbestos. Peritoneal mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that first attacks the membranes lining the stomach. This fatal disease is almost always caused by asbestos exposure.
The defendant, Duro Dyne Corporation, is a former manufacturer and distributor of asbestos–containing flex HVAC duct connectors and duct sealer used for sheet metal duct connections. Mr. Garcia worked with Duro Dyne Corporation's asbestos–containing sheet metal products throughout his 48–year career, but was never advised to wear any form of respiratory protection. Experts testified that he was exposed to hazardous levels of asbestos, and that each exposure was a substantial factor that contributed to his risk of developing an asbestos–related disease.
Mr. Garcia learned that he had peritoneal mesothelioma in late 2002. After over two years of treatment with chemotherapy, including Alimta ®, his cancer is currently in a temporary state of remission. Mr. Garcia traveled with his wife by car from Whittier, California, to testify at the San Francisco trial. He was unable to travel by plane due to the severe side effects of his chemotherapy regime.
The verdict against Duro Dyne Corporation consisted of $325,369 for past and future medical expenses, $530,250 for lost earning capacity, and $1.05 million in non–economic damages. Non–economic damages included $300,000 to Mrs. Garcia for loss of consortium.
"We are grateful that the jury rejected the defense claims that chrysotile asbestos does not cause all mesothelioma, including peritoneal, and that Mr. Garcia is somehow cured of this terrible and entirely preventable disease. Only in a courtroom would you hear such things," said Mr. Garcia's attorney, Gilbert Purcell, after the verdict.
Gilbert Purcell and Crystal Howard of Brayton Purcell LLP in Novato, California, represented plaintiffs Genaro and Delia Garcia at trial. Duro Dyne Corporation was represented at trial by James Sinunu and Thomas Trapani of Adams Nye Sinunu Bruni Becht LLP of San Francisco, California.