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
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
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.
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