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ARTICLE ID 41344

$________ - PRODUCTS LIABILITY - CONSOLIDATED ASBESTOS LITIGATION - DEFECT FOR FAILURE TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE WARNINGS AND NEGLIGENT FAILURE TO WARN OF DANGEROUS PRODUCT - PLEURAL THICKENING - PLEURAL THICKENING AND ASBESTOSIS.

Philadelphia County

This consolidated asbestos litigation was brought by three male plaintiffs and one female plaintiff claiming that they sustained injury as a result of exposure to asbestos products manufactured by the defendants. The plaintiffs were all in their 60’s. The plaintiff sheet metal mechanic claimed to have sustained pleural thickening and asbestosis and contended a five year history of exposure at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard from ________ to ________ and from ________ to ________. This plaintiff contended bystander exposure to asbestos used by other tradesmen. The plaintiff pipefitter, asserting pleural thickening and asbestosis, was employed at various plants and shipyards nearly continuously from ________ through the present. This plaintiff contended that his work duties as a pipefitter brought him into direct exposure with asbestos. The third male plaintiff worked as a helper machinist from ________ to ________ at the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard, as a joiner from ________ to ________, and as a naval architect at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard from ________ to ________. This plaintiff also claimed bystander exposure. The female plaintiff is the wife of the plaintiff naval architect and claimed to have developed asbestosis as a result of laundering her husband’s clothing throughout his working life.

The plaintiff sheet metal mechanic’s treating pulmonologist testified that this plaintiff’s occupational history, pulmonary function test, and x-rays lead to a diagnosis of pleural thickening and asbestosis. This treating physician did, however, state that these conditions were not currently causing a physiological impact. This treating physician further stated that this plaintiff was at an increased risk of developing lung cancer and mesothelioma. He also maintained that his reports concerning the plaintiff’s condition remained consistent as to the diagnosis and further stated that he had written on behalf of this plaintiff to both the workers’ compensation board and the federal government following the diagnosis and after the plaintiff was asked to leave his employment. This plaintiff’s expert radiologist and "B" reader testified he diagnosed pleural thickening and asbestosis. This expert also contended that this plaintiff was at an increased risk of developing lung cancer and mesothelioma. This plaintiff’s vocational psychologist testified that this plaintiff suffered a severe psychological impact due to the untreatable nature of his disease process. This expert asserted as a result of this plaintiff losing his employment he sustained feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness and at his age did not feel that he had any chances in the future. This plaintiff’s expert actuary economist testified that upon his review of income tax returns, work records, pay scale, and comparison to current jobs as a messenger and driver, he concluded that this plaintiff sustained economic losses of a low of $________ with retirement at age 65 and a high of $________ with retirement at age 70.

The defendants’ expert internist testified that this plaintiff exhibited pleural thickening but disputed this plaintiff’s claim of asbestosis. This expert, who gave expert testimony concerning this plaintiff as well as the plaintiff naval architect and his wife, asserted that medical records, x-rays, pulmonary function tests, and a clinical interview supported his conclusions.

The plaintiff naval architect’s expert pulmonologist testified that this plaintiff sustained mild pleural thickening and that this plaintiff was also at an increased risk of both lung cancer and mesothelioma. This expert asserted that this plaintiff’s condition did not contribute to shortness of breath. This expert also testified as to the plaintiff wife and asserted that she exhibited pleural plaque, pleural thickening, and asbestosis.

This expert opined that this plaintiff sustained asbestos related diseases as a result of laundering her husband’s clothing. He asserted that her interstitial fibrosis was evident in the lung itself and that she suffered from shortness of breath and was also at an increased risk of developing lung cancer and mesothelioma. This expert further contended that this plaintiff’s condition would shorten her life.

The defendants’ expert internist testified that the plaintiff wife did not suffer from asbestosis. This expert further contended that this plaintiff exhibited extra pleural fat which he claimed mimics pleural thickening. He further maintained that there are no known cases of asbestosis as a result of domestic exposure. This expert also testified that the shortness of breath complained of was due to this plaintiff’s mental conditions and that there was a psychosomatic component. This expert did not dispute the claim of pleural thickening asserted by the plaintiff naval architect.

The plaintiff pipefitter’s expert radiologist and "B" reader testified that this plaintiff’s radiological tests exhibited pleural thickening and asbestosis. He further asserted that this plaintiff was at an increased risk of developing lung cancer and mesothelioma.

The defendants’ expert pulmonologist asserted that this plaintiff exhibited pleural thickening, but that there was no evidence of asbestosis. This expert further contended that pleural thickening has no physiological impact and that this plaintiff was not at any increased risk of developing lung cancer. This expert also contended that this plaintiff had sustained Cadmium poisoning and that inhalation and exposure to this chemical can produce the complained of symptoms. He also asserted that these symptoms were due to this plaintiff’s obesity and smoking habits. The jury found for all plaintiffs. The plaintiff sheet metal worker was awarded $________ and his wife was awarded $________ for loss of services. The plaintiff naval architect was awarded $________ and the plaintiff wife was awarded $________. The plaintiff pipefitter was awarded $________ and his wife was awarded $________ for loss of services. Following the verdict on damages liability was stipulated at 10% for each defendant with the exception of the defendant Keene Corp. Liability as to this defendant was determined at 10% following a non-jury trial. Plaintiff pipefitter’s and plaintiff sheet metal worker’s expert radiologist: Dr. Richard Levine of Philadelphia. Plaintiff sheet metal worker’s treating pulmonologist: Dr. William Atkinson of Philadelphia. Plaintiff sheet metal worker’s expert vocational psychologist: Dr. Bernard Albert, Ph.D. of Philadelphia.

Plaintiff sheet metal worker’s expert actuary economist: David Bunin of Philadelphia. Plaintiff naval architect’s and plaintiff wife’s expert pulmonologist: Dr. James Guidice of Philadelphia.

Ehrlich, Brittingham and Pietrafitta vs. Celotex, et al. Case no.

July ________ no. ________; Case no. Sept. ________ no. ________; Case no. Sept.

________ no. ________. Judge Eugene Edward Maier, 9-26-90. Attorneys for all plaintiffs: Charles Joseph Grant and Carroll Cayer in Philadelphia; Attorney for defendant H.K. Porter: Joseph Gilbey in Philadelphia; Attorney for defendant Owens-Corning Fiberglas: John DeFeo in Philadelphia; Attorney for defendant Keene Corp.

and Owens-Illinois: Thomas Gallagher in Philadelphia.

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