Mesothelioma: Plaintiff worked with asbestos in Iran. $5.2 million. Los Angeles County.

Summary

Plaintiff, age 82, worked in Iran for American contractors when he was allegedly exposed to asbestos insulating products.  He has lived in California for over 30 years.

The Case

  • Case Name: Malek v. Fluor Corporation, et. al.
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC 580695
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, February 11, 2016
  • Date of Settlement: Wednesday, 24 February 2016
  • Date Action was Filed: Thursday, May 07, 2015
  • Type of Action: Asbestos, Contractor Negligence, Products Liability
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Chester Horn
  • Plaintiffs:
    Farid Malek, 82
    Mary Malek
  • Defendants:
    Fluor Corporation
    Fluor Enterprises, Inc.
    Middle East Fluor
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $5,204,048 + unknown punitive damages
  • Net Verdict or Award: $2,234,048 + unknown punitive damages
  • Settlement Amount: Confidential
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    10% to Fluor Corp with no finding of punitive; 15% to Fluor Enterprises Inc. WITH a finding of punitive; 15% to Middle East Fluor WITH a finding of punitive.

  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 50% to National Iranian Oil Company; 5% to Brand Insulations, Inc; 5% to Johns Manville.
  • Economic Damages:

    $254,048

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $4,950,000

  • Punitive Damages:

    Confidential settlement prior to jury rendering verdict on amount of punitive damages.

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 14 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 2 days
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Confidential settlement during punitive damages phase.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. by Mark Bratt, Benno Ashrafi and Venus Burns, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Hugo Parker, LLP by Edward Hugo and Shaghig Agopian, San Francisco.

    Schaffer, Lax, McNaughton & Chen by Jill Franklin, Kevin McNaughton and Yaron Dunkel, Los Angeles.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Barry Horn, M.D., pulmonology, Oakland.

    Barry Castleman, Ph.D. -  public health, Baltimore, MD.

    Arnold Brody, Ph.D., pathology, Raleigh, NC.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    None.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Kenneth Garza, industrial hygiene, Denver, CO.

    David Fractor, Ph.D., economics, Pasadena.

    Sara Guentz, R.N., nursing and rehabilitation, Long Beach.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    None.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff Farid Malek worked at the Abadan Refinery in Abadan, Iran from the 1950s until approximately 1979. He moved to the United States in approximately 1980 and has been a long-time resident of Orange County, CA. On or about March of 2015 he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiffs alleged the Fluor defendants exposed him to asbestos while he was working in various departments at the Abadan Oil Refinery in Iran. The Fluor defendants were alleged to have built two major refinery units, a Catalytic Reformer (aka Unifiner-Platformer) in the early 1960s and a Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) in the late 1970s. The Fluor defendants were alleged to have used asbestos-containing products, including insulation, without taking any precautions to protect the refinery workers.

    Additionally, plaintiffs contend it was illegal in the United States to install asbestos insulation at the time Fluor was alleged to have installed insulation on the CDU project in Iran. It was also alleged that Fluor had leftover asbestos insulation from a prior project the company sold into the CDU project to maximize profit without regard for the health and safety of the refinery workers.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant contended plaintiff was never exposed to asbestos by any of the Fluor entities.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos.

  • Medical expenses, loss of social security income, loss of ability to provide household services.

Additional Notes

The jury found the two Fluor subsidiaries (Fluor Enterprises, Inc. and Middle East Fluor) acted with malice and a conscious disregard for the health and safety of others, necessitating a punitive damages phase of the trial. The case settled prior to the jury rendering a verdict on the amount of punitive damages. Plaintiff served a CCP 998 offer to settle for $400,000 in August, 2015. Because defendant rejected the offer and plaintiffs did better at trial, plaintiffs would be entitled to litigation costs and interest from the point of the offer.

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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