42 Years - A Professional Law Corporation - Helping Asbestos Victims Since 1974

malignant mesothelioma

Asbestos Attorneys Note April 28 Workers Memorial Day

Workers Memorial Day

Photo credit: AFL-CIO

As asbestos attorneys we take great pride in what we do and rejoice in the multi-million dollar awards we win for our clients. But we never lose sight of the fact that behind every win there is also a loss. That loss is the impending loss of life for each client struggling with malignant mesothelioma. Although we are excellent asbestos attorneys and the doctors who treat malignant mesothelioma are excellent doctors, there is yet no cure.

Today as we observe Workers Memorial Day with millions of others all over the world, we recall the brave wonderful people we have represented. The AFL-CIO slogan for this year’s Workers Memorial Day – Mourn the Dead, Fight for the Living – resonates profoundly for each of us at Kazan Law. Because that is what we do every day.

This year between 2,500 and 3,000 US citizens will be diagnosed with mesothelioma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mesothelioma is 100% attributable to exposure to asbestos. In almost every instance the asbestos exposure happened because of the work they or someone in their family did. (Secondary asbestos exposure occurs when the person working with asbestos unknowingly brings the lethal microscopic fibers into the home on their clothes).

High-risk work groups for exposure to asbestos include: shipyard workers, oil refinery workers, manufacturing workers, plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, machinists, or construction workers. Typically the exposure to asbestos occurred in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s. The damage to the lungs, typically as malignant mesothelioma takes decades to emerge. But when it does, it is irreversible.

Four decades ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job.  Unions have fought to make that promise a reality—winning protections that have made jobs safer, saved lives and prevented millions of workplace injuries and illnesses. Businesses falsely claim that these regulations and protections kill jobs. The fact is these regulations and protections keep jobs and employers from killing workers. But there is still more to be done – especially on a global scale.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), across the world:

  • Each year, more than two million men and women die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases
  • Workers suffer approximately 270 million accidents each year, and fall victim to some 160 million incidents of -related illnesses
  • Hazardous substances kill 440,000 workers annually – asbestos claims 100,000 lives
  • One worker dies every 15 seconds worldwide. 6,000 workers die every day. More people die at work than fighting wars.

To find a Workers’ Memorial Day event near you, check here.

Appeals Court Upholds $5 Million Verdict for Malignant Mesothelioma Patient

malignant mesothelioma

James Hellam

Our mesothelioma law firm is pleased to announce that a California court of appeals has upheld a $5,437,882 verdict for malignant mesothelioma patient James Hellam against industrial-products supplier Crane Co. (Hellam v. Crane Co., Nos. A138013 and A139141, 2014 WL 1492725 Cal. Ct. App., 1st Dist. Apr. 16, 2014).

Kazan Law partners Frank Fernandez and Dianna Lyons, now retired, won the original verdict last March for Hellam, a 66 year-old motivational speaker and former police officer. Kazan Law attorneys Ted Pelletier and Ian Rivamonte led the successful appeal. The appellate court held that evidence supported the finding that Crane’s gaskets and cement were defectively designed because they emitted and exposed Hellam to significant levels of toxic asbestos fibers during ordinary use. The court agreed that the jury rightly attributed Crane’s products being the cause of Hellam’s malignant mesothelioma.

The appeals court affirmed the trial court’s award of over $85,000 in litigation costs to Hellam and the following compensation for damages:

  • Economic damages = $937, 882.56
  • Non-economic damages = $4,500,000.00
  • Total = $5,437.882.56

A Hall of Fame softball player, Hellam had taken great pride in coaching his two sons on the ball field and was greatly looking forward to teaching his young grandsons how to play his beloved sport. Hellam had also anticipated continuing his career as a global motivational speaker for at least another decade and continuing to travel the world with his wife.

Now instead of doing the things he loved with the people he loved and enriching the world around him, James Hellam is struggling to withstand the ravages of malignant mesothelioma.

Although he had spent 13 years as a San Jose police officer before becoming a motivational speaker and leadership trainer, the seeds of Hellam’s malignant mesothelioma were sown longer ago in his past. For five consecutive summers as a kid, he worked for his grandfather’s boiler business in Monterey.

Neither Hellam nor his grandfather were warned that the products purchased from Crane’s “Crane Supply” wholesale outlet in Salinas, California for the process of refurbishing boilers contained asbestos and were a health hazard. Yet our firm presented evidence showing that Crane corporate officers knew or should have known as early as the 1930s that asbestos causes diseases that kill.

Kazan Law’s $27 Million Mesothelioma Verdict Makes National Law Journal’s Top 100 Verdicts for 2013

mesothelioma verdictHere at our asbestos law firm, when we are working with a client who is suffering from malignant mesothelioma due to unlawful asbestos exposure, that client is our focus.  Because of the terrible wrong done to them and their family, their time is limited. Their life has been cut short and we take it upon ourselves to work to the utmost of our ability to seek justice for them.  We do this work because we believe it needs to be done; not to pat ourselves on the back.  That is the furthest thing from our minds when we are working on behalf of someone losing their life to malignant mesothelioma.

So it is always gratifying to us at Kazan Law when the work we do on behalf of our clients is acknowledged by our peers.

I am proud to announce that our June 5, 2013 mesothelioma verdict which completed the award to plaintiffs Rose-Marie and Martin Grigg for a total of $27,342,500 in damages for Mrs. Grigg’s asbestos-caused malignant mesothelioma made The National Law Journal’s  elite list of Top 100 Verdicts for 2013. The mesothelioma verdict placed 74 out of 100 nationally and 12th out of 100 nationwide among personal injury/products liability cases brought on behalf of an individual.

The National Law Journal is a periodical that reports legal information of national importance to attorneys, including federal circuit court decisions, major verdicts and coverage of legislative issues and legal news. Its annual Top 100 Verdicts issue catalogs the top accomplishments of the plaintiff’s lawyers in the U.S.

Mrs. Grigg, was exposed to asbestos in the course of shaking out and washing her husband’s work clothing. Mrs. Grigg’s then husband was an insulator for a company that used Owens-Illinois, Inc. Kaylo brand insulation products from 1950-1958.

Mrs. and Mr. Grigg were represented by our attorneys Joseph D. Satterley, Andrea Huston, Ryan Harris and Michael Stewart.

Evidence introduced during trial showed that Owens-Illinois, Inc. knew that asbestos exposure could cause death as early as the 1930s and that test results on Kaylo showed that exposure to the asbestos in the product could cause fatal disease.

The jury awarded Mrs. Grigg $12,000,000 in damages for her pain and suffering, Mr. Grigg $4,000,000 in damages for his loss of consortium, and $342,500 in economic damages. The jury also levied an $11,000,000 punitive damages verdict against Owens-Illinois, Inc.

“If we live in a society where product manufacturers are not held responsible for products once those products leave their possession, the world we live in is a dangerous place,” Kazan Law partner Joseph D. Satterley said to the jury when he asked them to find justice for Mrs. and Mr. Grigg.

Why You Need a POLST if You Have Malignant Mesothelioma

POLSTDoctor’s office forms, hospital test forms, insurance forms. When you have malignant mesothelioma, you get handed lots of clipboards and wind up filling out lots of forms.  But there is one form you need to make your sure you fill out.  That’s the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment known as the POLST.

As a patient with malignant mesothelioma, there are many things in your life that are not in your control.  But the POLST helps give you control over one very important thing – your medical care.  The POLST also helps you talk with your healthcare team and your loved ones about your choices.  It can help prevent you from receiving unwanted or ineffective medical treatment.  In this way, the POLST can help spare your family the anguish of not knowing what type of medical procedures to say yes or no to. It makes sure that your wishes are known and honored.

The decisions documented on the POLST form include whether to:

  • Attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation,
  • Administer antibiotics and IV fluids,
  • Use a ventilator to help with breathing, and
  • Provide artificial nutrition by tube

Where can I get a POLST form?

You can request the form from your doctor. The form can also be found at www.caPOLST.org

Is the POLST required by law?

Filling out a POLST form is entirely voluntary, but as of 2009, California law requires that the physician orders in a POLST be followed by health care providers.

Does the POLST form replace the Advance Care Directive?

The POLST form complements an Advance Directive and is not intended to replace that document. You still need an Advance Directive to appoint a legal health care decision-maker.

What happens to my POLST form after it is completed and signed?

The original POLST form should stay with you at all times.

  • In a hospital, your POLST will be in your medical record or file.
  • At home, place your POLST in a visible location so it can be found easily by emergency medical personnel – usually on a bedside table or on the refrigerator
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