San Francisco Jury Awards Worker Families Over $2 Million
San Francisco, CA — July 19, 2001 — A San Francisco jury awarded over $2 million to the families of two deceased workers who died from asbestos-related lung cancer due to their occupational asbestos exposure. The deceased men were Robert Grahn, who worked as a refractory brick mason, and Claude Reilly, who was an electrician.
The defendants in the Grahn case were Exxon Corporation and Dillingham Construction, N.A., a domestic industrial maintenance and construction company with its headquarters in Pleasanton, CA. The defendant in the Reilly case was Cutler-Hammer Corporation, a subsidiary of Eaton Corporation. It produces electrical products including motor–control units which have historically contained various asbestos components.
The San Francisco Superior court has a policy of consolidating similar asbestos-related lawsuits for trial in order to reduce court congestion. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Paul Alvarado presided over these two cases, which were heard before a jury. During the trial, the parties presented corporate documents relating to the defendants’ knowledge of asbestos hazards. The diagnosis of asbestos-related lung cancer was disputed by each defendant.
“We are very gratified to see the jury hold these defendants accountable for their actions in exposing these men to asbestos in the workplace,” said the plaintiff’s asbestos attorney of Brayton Purcell LLP. Both of the decedents had long work histories of asbestos exposure covering many decades. Robert Grahn was a career refractory brick mason working at various Bay Area refineries including Shell and Exxon from 1955 to 1984. Claude Reilly was a career electrician working at both Indiana and Bay Area industrial facilities from 1945 to 1979.
The jury found that Exxon negligently exposed Robert Grahn at its Benicia refinery from 1968 to 1972. The also jury found that Dillingham negligently exposed Mr. Grahn at the Shell refinery in Martinez between 1970 and 1984. Finally, the jury determined that Mr. Reilly’s work with Cutler-Hammer products resulted in his exposure to asbestos from 1950 to 1964.