Edward R. Hugo and Bina Ghanaat defended the firm’s boiler manufacturer client in a personal injury, mesothelioma, trial in the United States District Court, Southern District of California.  Plaintiff claimed that he was exposed to asbestos while serving as a Boilerman in the United States Navy from 1964-1966 when he spent two years tending the client’s two boilers on the USS Rowan.  His service in the Navy, on the USS Rowan and the identity of the manufacturer of the boilers was not disputed.  Plaintiff further claimed that his exposure to the asbestos on the outside and inside of the boilers caused his malignancy and asked the jury to award $21,000,000 in damages.  HP received a complete defense verdict on all theories of liability, including; Negligence, Strict Liability – Consumer Expectation, Strict Liability – Risk Benefit and Duty To Warn.  Because of the complexity of the verdict form, the jurors were not instructed to stop at that point.  So, they correctly proceeded to the next question on the Special Verdict Form which was HP’s first affirmative defense, Superseding Cause.  The jurors unanimously found that “the conduct of the United States Navy (was) a superseding cause of (plaintiff’s) harm”.  That finding resulted in a second complete defense verdict.

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