Former auto worker wins $25M in mesothelioma verdict

RP news wires, Noria Corporation

Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. obtained a jury verdict ordering DaimlerChrysler AG to pay $25 million to a New York City brake reliner who lost his right lung to mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos.

Chrysler, the worlds fifth-largest automaker, was found to have acted in reckless disregard for the safety of others, in its failure to warn of the hazards of asbestos, which it has known about since the 1930s. The case (Index no. 113939/04, New York Supreme Court, Manhattan) was brought by Alfred DUlisse, 73, and his wife, Margaret, of North Massapequa, N.Y. Mr. DUlisse, a retired police officer, was exposed to asbestos while relining Chrysler brakes at Morak Brakes in Brooklyn, N.Y., from 1960 to 1981.

Michael Roberts, Weitz & Luxenberg trial team attorney said, The jury obviously disbelieved Chryslers bogus litigation-defense that working with asbestos brakes is safe.

The Weitz & Luxenberg trial team included Roberts, Adam Cooper and Jerry Kristal, with additional support by associate attorney Patti Burshtyn. Prior to this case, Chrysler had won 14 asbestos-related cases in a row. In this suit, Chrysler was found to be jointly and severally liable, thus requiring the company to pay 80 percent of the verdict its 10 percent share and an additional 70 percent for the shares of two other companies. This is believed to be the highest verdict against Chrysler to date.

Weitz & Luxenberg is known for spearheading asbestos cases, among others, winning a historic consolidated trial in 1991 involving men who had worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the 1940s and 1950s. Weitz & Luxenberg represented 36 clients in that case and secured verdicts of $75 million. In 1996, Weitz & Luxenberg obtained a $64.65 million award for four asbestos plaintiffs, and in 2002, the firm won a $53 million verdict for a brake mechanic suffering from mesothelioma. The firm has recovered hundreds of millions more for its clients, many of whom formed the backbone of the victorious Allied war effort in World War II.

Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles. Weitz & Luxenberg represents numerous individuals who have serious injuries related to asbestos. These injuries include mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis (a noncancerous, chronic lung ailment) and other cancers, such as those of the larynx and kidney.

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