California Appeals Court Upholds $5 Million Verdict for Malignant Mesothelioma Patient

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood is pleased to announce that a California court of appeals has upheld a $5,437,882 verdict for mesothelioma patient James Hellam against industrial-products supplier Crane Co. (Hellam v. Crane Co., Nos. A138013 and A139141, 2014 WL 1492725 Cal. Ct. App., 1st Dist. Apr. 16, 2014).

Kazan Law partners Frank Fernandez and Dianna Lyons, now retired, won the original verdict last March for Hellam, a 66 year-old motivational speaker and former police officer. Kazan Law attorneys Ted Pelletier and Ian Rivamonte led the successful appeal. The appellate court held that evidence supported the finding that Crane’s gaskets and cement were defectively designed because they emitted and exposed Hellam to significant levels of toxic asbestos fibers during ordinary use. The court agreed that the jury rightly attributed Crane’s products being a cause of Hellam’s malignant mesothelioma.

The appeals court affirmed the trial court’s award of over $85,000 in litigation costs to Hellam and the following compensation for damages:     Economic damages = $937, 882.56     Non-economic damages = $4,500,000.00     Total = $5,437.882.56

Although he had spent 13 years as a San Jose police officer before becoming a motivational speaker and leadership trainer, according to court documents, the seeds of Hellam’s malignant mesothelioma were sown longer ago in his past. For five consecutive summers as a kid, he worked for his grandfather’s boiler business in Monterey.

According to court documents, neither Hellam nor his grandfather were warned that the products purchased from Crane’s “Crane Supply” wholesale outlet in Salinas, California for the process of refurbishing boilers contained asbestos and were a health hazard. Yet Kazan Law presented evidence showing that Crane corporate officers knew or should have known as early as the 1930s that asbestos causes diseases that kill.


Steven Kazan


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