Kazan Law Wins $5.5 Million Verdict Against Industrial Products Manufacturer Crane Co
On Kazan Law client Jim Hellam’s 66th birthday, November 28, 2012, an Oakland, California jury returned a $5,437,882 verdict in his case against Crane Co. Mr. Hellam was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011.
As a teenager, Mr. Hellam worked for his grandfather’s one man operation, Monterey Boiler Service, over the course of five summers between 1962 and 1966. His grandfather bought Cranite gaskets and a dry powdered cement product from Crane Co’s “Crane Supply” wholesale outlet in Salinas, California. Mr. Hellam was exposed to asbestos when he mixed the powered material with water to form a slurry used in the process of refurbishing boilers, and from cutting sheet gasket material to form gaskets used in the refurbishing process.
Mr. Hellam had no asbestos exposure during the rest of his career. He was a San Jose police officer for 13 years, followed by 31 years as a life coach who traveled the globe giving leadership training lectures, a career that began through recruitment by a firm and led to the development of his own business.
Crane Co denied responsibility for exposing Mr. Hellam to asbestos and asserted at trial that the company was unaware of asbestos related health hazards until the 1970s. Kazan Law presented evidence showing that Crane Co corporate officers knew or should have known as early as the 1930s that asbestos causes diseases that kill. The case was tried by Kazan Law partners, Dianna Lyons and Frank Fernandez, and associate Mark Swanson.
Before his diagnosis, Mr. Hellam was an extremely active and healthy 65 year old Hall of Fame softball player with a very active professional and personal life. He had planned to continue his leadership training for another decade, and to share his active leisure time with his grown sons, step daughters and the grandchildren he hoped to coach on the baseball field.