Asbestos fibers brought home from workplace cause death. $11.2 million. Los Angeles County.

Summary

Asbestos fibers brought home from work on clothing alleged to cause lung disease, death.

The Case

  • Case Name: Alfred Mata v. Liberty Utilities (Park Water) Corp
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC655564
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, April 23, 2018
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, March 28, 2017
  • Type of Action: Asbestos, Loss of Consortium, Negligence, Highlighted Verdicts
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Michele Flurer
  • Plaintiffs:
    Alfred Mata
    Leticia Mata
  • Defendants:
    Liberty Utilities (Park Water) Corp
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $11,406,500
  • Net Verdict or Award: $8,853,500
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Liberty Utilities (Park Water) Corp was found 54% responsible.

  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: Liberty Utilities (Park Water) Corp was found 54% responsible.
  • Economic Damages:

    $856,500

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $5,550,000 (Leticia Mata was awarded $3,000,000 for loss of consortium and Francisco Mata was awarded $2,550,000 for loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and pain and suffering.)

  • Punitive Damages:

    $5,000,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 12 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0, 11-1 as to malice.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. by Mark Bratt, Leonard Sandoval and Benno Ashrafi, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP by James Fraser, Marla Almazan and Trenton Hartzler, Los Angeles.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

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

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Michael Holland, toxicology, Saratoga Springs, NY.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Steven Paskal, industrial hygiene, Severna Park, MD.

    Gerald Markowitz, public health, New York, NY.

    David Fractor, economics, Pasadena.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Joel Cohen, industrial hygiene, San Mateo.

    Khalil Sheibani, pathology, Santa Ana.

    Laura Dolan, economics, San Diego.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff’s father (Francisco Mata) worked for Park Water company from 1970 to 1989. Park Water is a private, for-profit, company that provides the water to residents in various cities in Southern California (Lynwood, Bellflower, Compton, etc.).

    During his work with Park Water, Francisco Mata installed and cut asbestos cement pipe. Park Water admitted that its employees, including Francisco Mata, handled and installed asbestos cement pipe until approximately 1985 at which point they allege they contracted out the installation of asbestos cement pipe. Plaintiff Alfred Mata was 64 years old at the time of his mesothelioma diagnosis. His wife of almost 30 years, Leticia Mata, sued for loss of consortium. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiffs alleged that Park Water did not inform its workers of the dangers associated with asbestos. Plaintiffs allege that Park Water violated federal and state health and safety laws including the Occupational Safety and Health Act which required monitoring asbestos exposures in the workplace, providing separate lockers for workers to separate street clothes and work clothes, and informing workers of the hazards associated with asbestos.

    As a result of Park Water’s failure to address these safety concerns, Francisco Mata brought asbestos dust home with him on his work clothes and person. As a direct result of the family home being contaminated with asbestos, plaintiff Alfred Mata developed a terminal asbestos cancer called mesothelioma.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendants contended they were not negligent and further disputed that Alfred Mata's mesothelioma was related to asbestos exposure.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.

  • Loss of love, companionship, comfort, etc.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $100,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $50,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $7,500
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $699,000

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $2,500,000

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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