COVID-19 Resource Center

Hawkins Parnell Gets Mistrial in First Hybrid Civil Trial in San Francisco

February 14, 2022 – Press Release

February 14, 2022 (San Francisco, CA) – Claire Weglarz (Los Angeles) and Bill Fountain (San Francisco) of Hawkins Parnell & Young finished a month-long wrongful death trial in San Francisco County Superior Court that was declared a mistrial because of a deadlocked jury. It was the first-ever civil trial in San Francisco to proceed mainly virtually. Only jury selection, opening statements, and closing arguments were in person. The client, an international industrial-seal product manufacturer, was the only defendant at trial.

The plaintiffs are the family of Abraham Castillo, who was 57 years old when he died. Plaintiffs alleged that Mr. Castillo’s mesothelioma and death were from asbestos exposure in his work with the defendant’s packing products during his military service aboard Navy ships from 1980-1982 and his civilian work as a refrigeration mechanic at a food processing plant from 1983-2013. In closing arguments, Plaintiffs requested non-economic damages of tens of millions of dollars.

Although the government contractor affirmative defense argued by Hawkins Parnell was included on the verdict form, the jury was not directed to reach a verdict on that defense. The Hon. Vedica Puri presided over the trial. 

Plaintiffs were represented by Steve Patti and Heather-Ann Young of Brayton Purcell LLP.

Experts that testified at trial for the plaintiffs were: Arnold Brody, Ph.D. (cell biology); Barry Horn (pulmonology), Richard Cohen, M.D. (occupational medicine); Alan Smith, M.D., Ph.D. (epidemiology); Christopher DePasquale, CIH (industrial hygiene); and Steven Compton, Ph.D. (material science).

Experts that testified at trial for the defendant were James Crapo, M.D. (pulmonology); John Henshaw, CIH (industrial hygiene); and Capt. Margaret McCloskey (Navy). 

Hawkins Parnell attorneys Mirna Scheffy (San Francisco) and Nicole Grimes (Charleston) assisted at trial. 

Lisa Castillo, et al. v. John Crane Inc., et al., Case No. GCG-16-276540 (CA Super. Ct., San Francisco Cty.).