This week our firm Kazan Law, one of the top asbestos litigation firms in the US, celebrates its 40th year fighting for mesothelioma victims and winning precedent-setting verdicts.
To commemorate the occasion here’s a look back to how Kazan Law began.
Forty years ago, the workers at the Johns-Manville plant in Lompoc, California didn’t know why; they only knew that people were sick and dying. A lot of them. Colleagues they had worked with for many years. So the labor union representative collected death certificates of those who had died in the last five years and wrote a letter to someone he thought could help them. That someone was me.
The year was 1974. Telephones were attached to walls, a computer took up a whole room and companies that produced asbestos-containing products were getting away with murder. Employees exposed to asbestos on the job were dying from asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma.
And in Oakland, California, 40 years ago, I had just hung out my shingle. Kazan Law then was just me and a secretary. But I had all ready become known for having expertise in litigating complex medical and scientific issues in other kinds of cases, and had worked with a workers compensation attorney who was hired to get workers compensation benefits for some men who worked at the Pittsburg CA Johns Manville asbestos products plant.
Then, in 1974, shortly after going out on my own, I was asked to help by doing the civil law suits for those plant workers. I won a precedent-setting suit for Reba Rudkin, who developed asbestosis after working for 29 years at Johns-Manville’s plant in Pittsburg, California. Following this case, I represented over one hundred asbestos-affected workers from Johns-Manville plants.
In 1982, I won a $150,000 verdict for Bob Speake, one of the workers from the Johns-Manville plant in Pittsburg in a test case trial ordered by the Superior Court in Contra Costa County, CA. This case is regarded as a “threshold verdict” because it created the opportunity for punitive damage verdicts against Johns-Manville. Months later, just as we were getting ready to go to settlement conferences on a large group of those cases in advance of a fall 1982 trial of a group of these cases, Johns –Manville filed for bankruptcy court protection. I eventually had 393 cases pending against the company which we resolved with the Trust Fund set up after that bankruptcy.
Today Kazan Law is still headquartered in Oakland California. Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood now has 22 attorneys, including me. As Kazan Law celebrates its 40th anniversary this month, the firm continues to excel at pursuing justice for mesothelioma victims and others exposed to asbestos. Kazan Law daily puts its 40 years of experience in pioneering asbestos lawsuits and setting precedents to work for its clients today. An $11 million verdict was just announced last month in Kazan Law’s wrongful death suit on behalf of mesothelioma victim Gordon Bankhead’s wife and children.
I am proud that Kazan Law has remained at the forefront of asbestos litigation in California and nationally. Since 1974, we have represented thousands of people – those suffering from mesothelioma and their families. We treasure our reputation as pioneers in asbestos litigation who are among the most experienced mesothelioma lawyers in the United States.
As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, we recognize our history and its significance in asbestos litigation landmarks and celebrate our current accomplishments as we face the future.