Case Style: Richard Merrill v. Leslie Controls, Inc. BC, In the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles
Plaintiff(s): Richard Merrill
Defendant(s): Leslie Controls, Inc.
Verdict Date: March 13, 2007
Facts: Richard Merrill, a 65-year old Washington resident, suffers from malignant pleural mesothelioma, a fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Mr. Merrill was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December of 2005. Richard Merrill is a retired U.S. Navy senior machinist mate who served from 1959-1979. Mr. Merrill served aboard four U.S. Navy vessels during his twenty-year service during which time he was regularly exposed to asbestos performing repairs and maintenance to shipboard equipment. While working onboard these vessels, Mr. Merrill’s primary duties were in overhaul, repair and maintenance of both the primary and secondary propulsion plant equipment. Such duties exposed Mr. Merrill to enormous amounts of asbestos dust. He was exposed to various asbestos-laden equipment including Leslie Control valves that contained internal asbestos gaskets and lacking as well as asbestos insulating pads.
“Quite simply, the jury recognized the truth was on our side. Despite an overwhelmingly intense 6 week trial, the jury ultimately concluded that Leslie Control valves were a substantial cause of Mr. Merrill’s terminal cancer,” said Ron Eddins, lead trial counsel for the Merrill family. “The most important thing to Richard was that Leslie Controls be held accountable for their conduct, and now they have been,” Mr. Eddins stated.
The jury assessed 15% fault against Defendant Garlock Sealing Technologies and 14% fault to Defendant Kelly-Moore Paint Company. In addition, the jury allocated the remaining 46% fault to non-parties, including 39% to the U.S. Navy.
Plaintiff attorneys: Ron C. Eddins, Waters & Kraus, Dallas, Texas; Michael L. Armitage and Saar Swartzon, Waters & Kraus, Long Beach, Calif.
Defense attorneys: David M. Glaspy, Glaspy & Glaspy, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Robert Baronian, Baronian Law Firm, Pasadena, Calif. (for Defendant Garlock Sealing Technologies); Stephen Foley and Peter Langbord, Foley & Mansfield, Walnut Creek, Calif. (for Defendant Kelly-Moore Paint Company).
Judge: Honorable William F. Fahey
Plaintiff experts: Arnold Brody, Ph.D. (molecular cell biologist); Barry Horn, M.D. (pulmonologist); Sam Hammar, M.D. (pathologist); Eric Vallieres, M.D. (thoracic surgeon); John Templin, C.I.H. (industrial hygienist); William Longo, Ph.D. (materials scientist); David Fractor, Ph.D. (economics); Robert Neff, CPA (accountant).
Defense experts: Andrew Churg, M.D. (pathologist); James Delaney (Naval expert); Donna Ringo, CIH (industrial hygienist); Carl Mangold, CIH (industrial hygienist); William Hughson, M.D. (epidemiologist); Robert Sawyer, M.D. (occupational & preventative medicine).