Jury Returns $4.3 Million Verdict in Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer Case
ALAMEDA, Calif. – Oct. 20, 2017 – On October 19, 2017, an Alameda County jury returned a $4.3 million verdict in favor of the Faiaipau family in a wrongful death trial against J&H Marine Industrial & Engineering Company – a ship flooring company doing business in the 1970s and 1980s under the name Willard Marine Decking, Inc. At the trial, plaintiffs were able to prove that defendant’s employees negligently exposed Saipele Faiaipau, a rigger, to asbestos aboard numerous Navy and commercial ships during the removal of asbestos-containing flooring without implementing the proper safety precautions. The jury assessed $2 million in economic losses and $2.3 million for non-economic damages.
Mr. Faiaipau, who never smoked cigarettes, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010 and passed away in 2012 at the age of 58, leaving behind a wife, two children, and several grandchildren. He worked as a rigger for over 30 years at various shipyards in the Bay Area, and continued to work even after being diagnosed with cancer. At trial, defendant J&H Marine asserted that the cause of Mr. Faiaipau’s lung cancer was not asbestos, but of an unknown origin. They also claimed that Willard Marine Decking, Inc. employees followed all Navy and OSHA regulations related to the removal of asbestos-containing flooring. The jury rejected both of these claims.
The trial, which began in early September, was presided over by the Honorable Brad Seligman. Gilbert Purcell Esq., an attorney with Brayton Purcell LLP, was trial counsel for the Faiaipau family. “We are grateful for the jury’s service, attentiveness and commitment to seeing to it that case evidence and the law is what determines outcomes,” reflected lead trial counsel Gilbert Purcell, “and thankful for the deserving Faiaipau family who has battled this case for a very long time.”
Defendant J&H Marine was represented by Barbara Adams and Michael Sach of Clark Hill LLP. The jury found the defendant 5% liable for the injuries to Mr. Faiaipau.