Partner Jeff Blumstein recently argued and won two significant mesothelioma appeals in the Appellate Division of Superior Court.
First, on March 3, 2015, the appellate court reversed a lower court decision granting summary judgment dismissing the Federal statutory and common law claims of our client, a long-time ship worker who died of mesothelioma. Although our client had worked as a deck hand and general maintenance worker on various of Defendants Weeks Marine’s and American Atlantic Company’s dredges from 1962 through 1978, the trial court had held that there was insufficient evidence of his exposure to asbestos on those dredges. The Appellate Division disagreed. Based on our arguments, it found that there was in fact a triable issue for a jury based on the evidence presented. The case was remanded for a trial.
Secondly, on March 27, 2015, in another case that Jeff argued, the Appellate Division affirmed our clients’ $1.6 million dollar verdict against Whittaker, Clark & Daniels. The company was the primary supplier of raw talc for a plant that produced Old Spice and Desert Flower talcum powder that was contaminated with asbestos. Our client’s father had worked at the plant that produced these products and brought home asbestos on his work clothes from 1967 through 1975, when our client was an infant. Our client subsequently developed malignant peritoneal mesothelioma as an adult. He was forced to undergo extensive surgery and four months of chemotherapy. A jury found Whittaker, Clark & Daniels liable for his exposure to asbestos-containing talc and his resulting illness. The $1.6 million dollar verdict consisted of $1.4 million dollars for our client’s pain and suffering and $200,000 for his wife’s loss of consortium. Whittaker, Clark & Daniels challenged the verdict on numerous grounds. However, the appellate court agreed with our arguments and affirmed the verdict. It is believed that this is the first New Jersey asbestos verdict involving cosmetic talc that has been upheld on appeal.