Siding with the arguments of an Orrick litigation team, a Los Angeles jury returned a complete defense verdict on behalf of Union Carbide Corp. and two other companies in a personal injury trial involving a family’s claims of asbestos-related mesothelioma, a rare and fatal form of cancer.
After six hours of deliberations, the Superior Court jury on Aug. 8 returned the defense verdict for Union Carbide and co-defendants Elementis and Kelly Moore. Orrick’s team, led by partner Morton Dubin, overcame a tough evidentiary landscape and very sympathetic plaintiffs to persuade the jury to back the defendants’ arguments. Matt Ashby, of Polsinelli in Los Angeles, also tried the case for Union Carbide, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical.
In the trial, the plaintiffs sought about $12 million in compensatory damages in a lawsuit brought by Christine Louise Pass, who alleged her mesothelioma was caused by direct and secondary exposure during the 1970s to asbestos sold by Union Carbide and contained in at least four different drywall finishing products. The family also sought punitive damages against Union Carbide for claims of negligence, negligent failure to warn, strict liability failure to warn and strict liability design defect.
In addition to Morty, the Orrick team representing Union Carbide included associates Eric Motika, Ric Fukushima, Chris Cruz and Kevin Hynes.
Heather Weakley of Armstrong & Associates represented Elementis, and Claire Weglarz of Hawkins Parnell represented Kelly Moore.
Download Law360's coverage of the verdict here.