Auto mechanic wins $6.8 million verdict against Ford Motor Co. for mesothelioma. Alameda County.

Summary

Plaintiff was an auto mechanic with decades of asbestos exposure from Ford parts such as brakes, clutches and gaskets. He was forced to give up his auto repair business when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Majority of jury verdict was for pain and suffering.

The Case

  • Case Name: Patrick Scott and Sharon Scott v. Allied Packing & Supply, Ford Motor Company, et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Alameda County Superior Court/ RG12613671
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Sunday, November 18, 2012
  • Date Action was Filed: Sunday, January 22, 2012
  • Type of Action: Asbestos, Products Liability, Toxins
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. George C. Hernandez, Jr.
  • Plaintiffs:
    Patrick Scott, 69, auto mechanic
    Sharon Scott
  • Defendants:
    Ford Motor Company at trial (all other defendants were dismissed or otherwise resolved before trial).
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $6,825,000
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 22% to Ford; 19% to plaintiff.
  • Economic Damages:

    $1,225,000 lost income, household services, and medical costs.

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $5,000,000 pain and suffering $600,000 loss of consortium

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: August 17, 2012 to November 19, 2012
  • Jury Polls: 9-3 against Ford as to product liability claims; 12-0 against Plaintiff as to comparative negligence.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    Kazan, McClain, Lyons, Greenwood & Harley by Justin Bosl, Oakland.
    Sales & Satterley by Joseph Satterley, Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Nixon Peabody by Ron Lopez, Ross Petty and David Pereda, San Francisco.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Allan Smith, M.D., Ph.D., epidemiology, Berkeley.
    Barry Horn, M.D., pulmonology, Berkeley.
    Eugene Mark, M.D., pathology, Boston, MA.
    Michael Yim, M.D., pulmonology (treating physician), Vallejo.
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Alberto Marchevsky, M.D., pathology, Beverly Hills.
    Mary Jane Teta, Dr.P.H., epidemiology, Middlebury, CT.
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    William Longo, Ph.D., materials science, Atlanta, GA.
    Michael Ellenbecker, Sc.D., CIH, industrial hygiene, Lowell, MA.
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    Denis Rushworth, marine engineering, Dowell, MD.
    Bryan Hardin, Ph.D., toxicology, Hilton Head, SC.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff was a career auto mechanic until he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in the fall of 2011. Since then, he has been unable to work. He has always been a "car guy"; he began fixing his personal cars as a teenager before he even had a driver's license. After serving in the U.S. Air Force and working for nine months at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, he opened his first auto repair shop in 1966 in Sausalito. Later that year, he moved his shop to San Francisco. In 1978, plaintiff opened a one-bay auto shop in St. Helena, California, which he ran until his diagnosis. Throughout his career, plaintiff worked primarily on American-made vehicles, including many Ford cars and trucks. The Ford cars and trucks had asbestos brakes, clutches, gaskets, and other parts. Evidence at trial showed that Ford was a member of the National Safety Council in 1948, when that organization published a paper on the harmful effects of asbestos in brakes.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That Ford’s products were defectively designed to include the use of asbestos; that Ford failed to warn of such defects, and that Ford was negligent.  Further, that Ford had been aware that asbestos causes mesothelioma since 1960, yet continued to sell asbestos parts until 2001.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That brake mechanics are not at increased risk of developing mesothelioma, so exposure to asbestos from Ford vehicles did not contribute to plaintiff's mesothelioma. That plaintiff's mesothelioma was caused by his 9 months of work in a shipyard in 1965.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Malignant Mesothelioma.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,000,000 for Patrick Scott and $500,000 for Sharon Scott
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $12,500 to Patrick Scott and $2500 to Sharon Scott

Additional Notes

Per defense counsel: Plaintiffs' proposed judgment after offsets: $1,232,000

Plaintiff counsel notes that other American car manufacturers, in particular, Chrysler and GM, were not included in this action because they had declared bankruptcy before the action was filed.

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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