$1,979,228 Verdict for Retired Los Angeles Brickmason
On Friday, November 2, 2012, after a five week trial and 1 ½ day of deliberations, a Los Angeles jury found against Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., a manufacturer of asbestos-containing joint compounds, deciding that Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc.'s asbestos-containing joint compounds were defectively designed and contained a failure to warn product defect. The jury assessed $479,228 in economic damages and $1,500,000 in non-economic damages. The jury assigned 10 percent of the liability to defendant Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc.
Only 63 years old, Mr. Vincent Monaco was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a debilitating and fatal cancer of the lining between the lungs and chest wall, in August 2011.
Mr. Monaco worked as a brickmason at Kaiser Steel, Fontana, California, and at numerous residential sites and commercial buildings throughout Southern California between 1968 and the 1990s. Mr. Monaco worked directly with asbestos-containing insulation block and mortor, and near others using asbestos-containing pipe insulation and joint compounds. In addition, he was exposed to asbestos brought home on the clothes of his father, who also worked as a brickmason for several decades.
At trial, plaintiffs presented evidence showing that the knowledge of hazards of exposure to asbestos dates back to 1898. Indeed, Kaiser Gypsum's own internal documents starting in 1965 acknowledge that inhalation of asbestos dust from any source can cause mesothelioma decades later.
"We were fortunate to have a wonderful and dedicated jury," said James P. Nevin, counsel for Mr. Monaco. "Mr. Monaco can live out his last few months knowing that Kaiser Gypsum was held accountable today for contributing to cause his mesothelioma." James P. Nevin, along with Ksenia L. Snylyk of Brayton Purcell LLP, represented Vincent Monaco.
The trial, which began in October, was presided over by the Honorable Frederick C. Shaller, who sits in Department 46 of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Defendant Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., was represented at trial by Jillian Kieth, Esq. and Kelvin Wyles, Esq. of Dehay & Elliston LLP.