Jury Awards $2.8 Million for Terminal Asbestosis
San Francisco, California — October 4, 2005 — A San Francisco jury awarded Harold Phelps and his wife Neva $2.8 million in damages because of occupational exposure to asbestos. Mr. Phelps, who is 77 years old, suffers from terminal asbestosis and is dependant on oxygen 24 hours a day. The Las Cruces, N.M. resident had to be driven to San Francisco for the trial because the airlines would not allow his liquid oxygen onboard the plane.
Mr. Phelps worked as a mechanic, laborer, and carpenter. He was likely first exposed to asbestos as a child when he delivered lunch to his father at work in a locomotive roundhouse. Mr. Phelps was also exposed to asbestos during his years in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, at work as a mechanic replacing automotive brakes, clutches and engines, and during his years in construction. At no time during his career was Mr. Phelps advised to wear any form of respiratory protection. Hamilton Materials, the defendant, manufactured asbestos drywall finishing materials that Mr. Phelps was exposed to during his work as a carpenter.
The jury deliberated for five days before finding Hamilton Materials liable. They determined that Hamilton Materials products were defectively designed, that the company had failed to provide adequate warnings and that they were negligent. Hamilton Materials was represented by Robert Channel and Florence McLain of the law firm Walsworth, Franklin, Bevins & McCall. The trial lasted just over three weeks and was presided over by the Honorable James McBride.