Hicks Thomas Mesothelioma Victory

Posted By Hicks Thomas LLP || 20-Aug-2001

Mixed Verdict

Cause of Action: Wrongful death, survival, negligence
Injuries: Mesothelioma Case: Nancy Moore, Individually and as Personal Representative of the Heirs and Estate of Robert Moore, Laura Aslin, Mary Harwell, Margo Knutson, Kristi Lee, Robert Lee Moore Jr., Karen Lacewell, and Jeri Wood v. Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation and Brown & Root Inc., No. 20,831 Court: Morris County District Court, 76th Judge: Jimmie L. White Verdict Date: 7/27/01

PLAINTIFFS
Attorneys: David Carl Greenstone; Waters & Kraus; Dallas,TX, for Jeri Wood, Karen Lacewell, Kristi Lee, Laura Aslin, Margo Knutson, Mary Harwell, Nancy Moore, Robert Lee Moore Jr., Robert Moore Scott Kruka; Waters & Kraus; Dallas,TX, for Jeri Wood, Karen Lacewell, Kristi Lee, Laura Aslin, Margo Knutson, Mary Harwell, Nancy Moore, Robert Lee Moore Jr., Robert Moore Jason Stephens; Nix, Patterson & Roach; Dangerfield,TX, for Jeri Wood, Karen Lacewell, Kristi Lee, Laura Aslin, Margo Knutson, Mary Harwell, Nancy Moore, Robert Lee Moore Jr., Robert Moore

Experts: Arnold Brody, Ph.D.; biology; New Orleans, LA, called by David Greenstone, Scott Kruka, Jason Stephens James Robb, M.D.; pathology; Ft. Lauderdale, FL, called by David Greenstone, Scott Kruka, Jason Stephens Barry J. Castleman, Ph.D.; environmental engineering; Baltimore, MD, called by David Greenstone, Scott Kruka, Jason Stephens

Demonstrative evidence: None

DEFENDANTS

Attorneys: Taylor M. Hicks Jr.; Hicks Thomas & Lilienstern; Houston,TX, for Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation Stephen M. Loftin; Hicks Thomas & Lilienstern; Houston,TX, for Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation George R. Carlton Jr.; Godwin, White & Grubert; Dallas,TX, for Brown & Root, Inc.

Expert: None

Demonstrative evidence: None

A Morris County jury returned a $725,000 verdict on July 27 and found Brown & Root was 10% responsible for the asbestos exposure that led to the death of a 73-year-old man who had worked in steel and ammunition plants.

Robert Moore worked at the Lonestar Ammunition plant in Lone Star, Texas, from 1967 to 1969. He also worked at the Lonestar Steel facility from 1977 to 1985. While working at Lonestar Steel, Moore was regularly and continuously exposed to asbestos dust as a result of work Brown & Root performed with asbestos-containing materials. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1999.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged that while at Lonestar Steel, Brown & Root never warned Moore that asbestos was deadly or took any precautions to protect him from asbestos dust, despite clear evidence that Brown & Root had knowledge of the dangers of asbestos dating back to the 1940s.

Moore, who died in January 2001, is survived by his wife Nancy as well as seven adult children from a previous marriage.

Originally, there were approximately 30 defendants. Kaiser Aluminum and Brown & Root, however, were the only two remaining at the time of trial. The other defendants were either non-suited or settled prior to trial for undisclosed amounts. Because of confidentiality agreements, their names were not released.

Death From Asbestos Exposure.

Moore died from mesothelioma. James Robb, an anatomic pathologist from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., testified that Moore’s mesothelioma was caused from asbestos exposure.

Jury Splits Negligence.

Following a 10-day trial, jurors found Brown & Root negligent and contributed to cause Moore’s mesothelioma. But jurors split liability, holding Brown & Root only 10% negligent and Moore 50% negligent because he smoked cigarettes from 1951 to the time of his death. The remaining 40% negligence was placed on several settling parties. There was no negligence on the part of Kaiser Aluminum. The jury awarded Nancy Moore $550,000 for the loss that she suffered and for the pain and suffering Moore endured during his life. The $550,000 is offset by settlement credits; therefore, Brown & Root will owe nothing.

In addition to finding Brown & Root negligent, the jury found that Brown & Root acted with malice toward Robert Moore and awarded $175,000 in punitive damages. Nancy Moore is entitled to judgment on the punitive award.

Reprinted with permission from the August 20, 2001 edition of TEXAS BLUE SHEET. © 2001 NLP IP Company. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved. #081-11-02-0001

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