San Francisco Jury Awards $1,250,000 in Asbestosis Case
San Francisco, CA — January 26, 2005 — A San Francisco jury unanimously awarded damages of $1,250,000 in favor of a retired pipefitter with asbestosis and pleural disease caused by his occupational exposure to asbestos. The plaintiff, Geronia Quarles, of Fresno, California is 69 years old. The defendant Advocate Mines, Ltd. was held liable for their defective asbestos fiber supplied to make Johns–Manville Transite pipe in their Stockton, California facility. The jury made an additional unanimous finding of malice or oppression against the defendant.
Advocate Mines, Ltd., in partnership with the Johns–Manville Corporation, owned and operated an asbestos mine in Baie Verte, Newfoundland starting in the 1950s. Advocate Mines, Ltd. sold asbestos fiber to various manufactures of asbestos–containing products, including Johns–Manville Corporation for use in Transite asbestos–cement pipe.
The trial began on January 4, 2005, before San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ellen Chaitin. A jury was impaneled to hear the case and heard testimony. Closing arguments were presented January 19, 2005. The jury deliberated for one day before reaching its verdict. During the trial, in addition to evidence concerning Advocate Mines, Ltd.'s involvement with asbestos, testimony concerning the historical use of asbestos, medical diagnosis, historical medical articles concerning asbestos and disease, pulmonary medicine, radiology, and industrial hygiene was presented.
Geronia Quarles was born in Palestine, Texas and relocated to Fresno, California as a child. As a pipefitter in the 1970s installing underground pipelines for new housing developments Mr. Quarles handled, cut, and beveled Johns–Manville Transite pipe containing Advocate Mines, Ltd. asbestos fiber, which generated respirable asbestos.
Advocate Mines, Ltd. did not provide any warning to consumers about their asbestos fiber used in Johns–Manville Transite pipe and continued to sell asbestos fiber even after their own miners went on strike due to asbestos–related health problems.
Mr. Quarles was diagnosed with asbestosis and pleural disease in October of 2003. Medical testimony established that his asbestosis and pleural disease was caused by his occupational exposure to asbestos.
Defendant Advocate Mines, Ltd. was represented at trial by John Graniez of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, Los Angeles, California.