On Thursday, October 30, 2014, after a six-week trial and one day of deliberations, an Alameda County jury assessed a verdict against John Crane Inc., an asbestos packing and gasket manufacturer. The jury decided that John Crane, Inc. was negligent, that its asbestos-containing products were defective in design, and that it failed to warn. The jury assessed $40 million in non-economic damages for Robert Whalen. The jury assessed $30 Million dollars in Loss of Consortium Damages for Linda Whalen and $861,113 in economic damages.
In December 2013, Mr. Whalen was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a debilitating and fatal cancer of the lining of the lung, and has been battling the disease ever since.
From 1964 to 1990, Mr. Whalen served for twenty-six years in the U.S. Navy aboard nuclear submarines as a Machinists Mate and a Nuclear Inspector. Throughout his time in service, he worked with asbestos-containing John Crane asbestos packing and gasket materials.
At trial, plaintiffs presented evidence that John Crane knew by at least 1970, and should have known decades before, that asbestos was deadly, yet never tested their products for safety, never consulted the medical literature concerning the potential hazards of the products, and failed adequately to warn users of the hazards associated with their asbestos products.
“John Crane, Inc.’s defense relied heavily on misleading studies, funded by the asbestos industry, designed to artificially create doubt where none exists,” said Jennifer L. Alesio, counsel for Mr. Whalen. “It is my sincere hope that Mr. Whalen and Mrs. Whalen will be comforted during his remaining time on this earth knowing that the jury was able to make their way to the truth and hold John Crane Inc. accountable for their contribution in causing his terrible disease.” Associates Jennifer L. Alesio, Esq. and Heather-Ann Young, Esq., and senior trial partner Gilbert L. Purcell, of Brayton❖Purcell LLP, were trial counsel for the Whalens.
The trial, which began in September, was presided over by the Honorable ia Kolakowski, Alameda Superior Court. John Crane Inc. was represented at trial by Daniel Griffin, Esq. of O’Connell, Tivin, Miller & Burns, LLC, and Robert Nelder, Esq. of Hassard Bonnington LLP.
Court: Alameda County Superior Court
Case No.: CGC 12-275116