James Parker and Shaghig Agopian Win Defense Verdict After Six Week Long Jury Trial

Posted on Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Case Name:  David and Vana Baeza v. Special Electric Company, Inc.
Date of Trial:  March 11, 2015 - April 27, 2015

Judge: Hon. Peter Mirich, Dept. S29, Los Angeles County Superior Court (Long Beach)

Trial Counsel:
-  Simona Farrise, Esq., Benjamin Adams, Esq., Paul Meyers, Esq., and Alina Guzman, Esq. of Farisse Law Firm, PC for Plaintiffs David and Vana Baeza 
-  James C. Parker, Esq. and Shaghig Agopian, Esq. of Hugo Parker, LLP for Defendant Special Electric Company, Inc. 

Pre-Trial Demands/Offers:  Several months before the start of trial, plaintiffs served a C.C.P. §998 Offer to defendant Special Electric Company in the amount of $850,000. Special Electric countered with an offer to settle the action for $0 and a dismissal with prejudice in exchange for a mutual waiver of costs. At the Mandatory Settlement Conference just before trial started, plaintiffs demanded $2,250,000 to fully resolve the case.

Verdict:  Complete defense verdict on April 27, 2015.

Case Summary:  Plaintiffs David and Vana Baeza alleged that David Baeza had contracted pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung, from contact as a child and teenager with the asbestos-impregnated clothing, shoes and vehicles of his father, who had been employed at the Johns-Manville manufacturing facility in Long Beach, CA from 1968 through 1981 where asbestos was used daily.  Though Plaintiffs had filed this lawsuit against Special Electric Company, Inc. and other entities, they proceeded to trial against Special Electric and sought money damages for Mr. Baeza’s pain and suffering, loss of earnings, past and future medical care and home services, and for Mrs. Baeza’s loss of consortium.

At the outset of trial, Plaintiffs elected to strike all legal theories against Special Electric except strict liability - design defect under the consumer expectations test.  At trial, Special Electric contended that any asbestos it might have supplied to Johns-Manville Long Beach occurred no earlier than the mid-1970’s and was not defective under the consumer expectations test because by that time the hazards of exposure to asbestos were known to its ordinary consumers.

Plaintiffs’ Trial Expert Witnesses:  Dr. Barry Horn (Pulmonary Medicine)
Dr. Arnold Brody (Cell Biologist)
Robert Johnson (Economist)

Defendants’ Trial Expert Witnesses: None

Jury Trial:  Length, 29 days; Deliberation, 3.5 days

Result:  The jury rendered a complete defense verdict in favor of Special Electric.

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