Lawyers from Waters & Kraus (Los Angeles) and its related firm, Waters Kraus & Paul (Dallas), won a major wrongful death award in Los Angeles County on behalf of the son of a pipefitter who died of mesothelioma. The nine-day trial resulted in an $8.45 million jury verdict.  

Gary M. Paul from Waters & Kraus and Erin M. Wood from Waters Kraus & Paul represented the plaintiff, Robert “Bob” Swanson, whose exposure to asbestos insulation distributed by Weil-McLain and used on its boilers contributed to his death.

Bob Swanson, a career plumber and pipefitter, was originally from Michigan. He moved to California in 1979, working for the next several decades in HVAC. Mr. Swanson testified that his employer from 1969 through the 1970s only installed Weil-McLain brand boilers. Swanson was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2014 and died 16 months later.

According to testimony, Weil-McLain purchased JM 352 insulating cement, which was 100% chrysotile asbestos. A Johns-Manville representative testified that JM 352 bags contained an asbestos warning label. He also testified that Weil-McLain repackaged the asbestos insulation, sending it to customers in plain paper bags with their boilers.

The asbestos verdict, which was reached hours after the close of the nine-day trial, is believed to be the largest of its kind against Weil-McLain to date. 

“It was most satisfying to receive justice for Robert Swanson, who never got to see his day in court,” said Paul “But the effort carried on by his only surviving heir, his son Shawn, allowed the jury to see the righteousness of his cause.”

The case was No. JCCP4674/BC571451; Swanson, et al., vs. Weil-McLain, a div of Marley-Wylain Company, et al.

In July, Leaders In The Law reported on a whistleblower settlement that Waters Kraus secured regarding medical devices. Read that article here.