Calif. Jury Reaches Defense Verdict for Dana Companies, John Crane in Asbestos Case

January 23, 2014 – Media Coverage

LOS ANGELES – A California jury has reached a defense verdict in favor of Dana Companies and John Crane, rejecting claims of a former pipefitter that his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos in the defendants' products.

Judge Patrick T. Madden of the California Superior Court for Los Angeles County presided over the trial, which ended in a verdict on Jan. 17. Dana Companies LLC and John Crane Inc. were the lone remaining defendants at the time of the verdict.

Plaintiffs Nicolaas and Brigitte Schildknegt contend in their complaint that Nicolaas' work as a pipefitter at a number of locations for more than 30 years required him to work with asbestos-containing gaskets.

Sources told HarrisMartin that while the plaintiffs originally brought claims for consumer expectation, failure to warn, negligence and punitive damages, they eventually dismissed the failure-to-warn and negligence causes of action. The trial court later granted the defendants' motions for partial non-suits on the punitive damages claim.

The defendants argued during trial that work with flange gaskets does not increase an individual's risk for developing mesothelioma. Dana Companies and John Crane instead contended that Schildknegt's mesothelioma was caused by exposure to amphibole asbestos insulation.

According to the verdict sheet, the jury put down “no” for the first question of whether the plaintiff was exposed to any asbestos fibers released from an asbestos-containing product manufactured, sold, or distributed by either one of the defendants.

Testifying on behalf of the plaintiffs were Charles Ay, Dr. James Dahlgren and Arnold Brody, Ph.D.

Testifying on behalf of the defendants were Dr. James Crapo, Fred Boelter, CIH, PE, and John Henshaw, CIH.

The plaintiffs were represented by Brent Zadorozny and Venus Burns of Weitz & Luxenberg in Los Angeles.

Dana was represented by James Parker of Brydon, Hugo & Parker in San Francisco and Susan W. Gilefsky of McKenna Long & Aldridge in Los Angeles.

John Crane was represented by Hawkins Parnell & Young in Los Angeles.

Schildknegt, et al., v. Dana Companies LLC, et al., No. BC503723 (Calif. Super. Ct., Los Angeles Cty.).

Document is Available Call (800) 496-4319 or Search Verdict Sheet Ref# ASB-1402-01

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