On March 14, after eight years of litigation, including a prior trial in 2022 which resulted in a deadlocked jury, Womble Bond Dickinson attorneys Claire C. Weglarz (Los Angeles) and Mirna J. Scheffy (San Francisco) secured a defense verdict in a wrongful death mesothelioma case pending in San Francisco Superior Court. Judge Mary Wiss presided over this 4 week-long trial. The client, an international industrial-seal product manufacturer, was the only defendant at trial. Dan Griffin of Griffin Purnell co-chaired the trial with Claire Weglarz.

The plaintiffs, the decedent’s widow and children, claimed that the 57-year old decedent died of mesothelioma caused in part by his work with asbestos-containing mechanical packing materials aboard Navy ships in the early 1980s. During closing argument, plaintiffs’ counsel asked the jury for damages in the amount of “tens of millions” of dollars. The jury found that Womble’s client established its affirmative defense against plaintiffs’ product defect claims based on the Navy’s procurement of the mechanical packings pursuant to reasonably precise specifications.  The jury further found that any lack of warnings on the products was not a substantial cause of decedent’s mesothelioma.

Experts that testified at trial for the plaintiffs were Allan H. Smith, M.D., Ph.D. (epidemiology); Barry Horn, M.D. (pulmonary medicine); Christopher DePasquale (industrial hygiene); Arnold Brody, Ph.D. (cell biology); David Tarin, M.D., PhD FRCPath (pathology); and Steven P. Compton, Ph.D. (materials scientist).

The experts presented at trial by Womble’s client were Ret. Capt. Margaret McCloskey (Navy), John Henshaw (industrial hygiene), and James D. Crapo, M.D. (pulmonary medicine).

The Womble team was assisted by Womble trial paralegals Dana Lisenby and Melissa Kettler.

The plaintiffs were represented at trial by Steve Patti and Ron Shingler of the Brayton Purcell Law Firm.  

Lisa Castillo, et al. v. John Crane Inc., San Francisco Superior Court, Case No. CGC-16-276540.