After a one-month trial, a Los Angeles, California jury returned a mesothelioma verdict which found American Optical Corporation substantially responsible for Louis William Tyler developing mesothelioma. The jury also found that American Optical Corporation acted with malice, fraud or oppression, determining the respiratory equipment manufacturer knew its product couldn’t prevent dangerous asbestos exposure and hid that fact from purchasers. (William and Becky Tyler v. American Optical Corporation, Case No. BC588866, Los Angeles County Superior Court)
Bill Tyler worked for Foundry Service and Supply in Torrance, California from 1972 to 1992. He used an American Optical respirator for 17 years, expecting that it would protect him from breathing asbestos dust. At age 62, he developed mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos cancer.
American Optical company documents showed the respiratory equipment manufacturer knew its customers were using the R2090 respirator in asbestos work sites, and no significant efforts were made to stop that.
Mesothelioma Verdict Amount
After one day of deliberation, the jury awarded $22.8 million in compensatory damages in favor of Bill Tyler and his wife Becky. Days later the jury slammed American Optical Corporation with $10 million in punitive damages for marketing a faulty respirator–the first time that American Optical Corporation has been hit with a punitive-damages verdict for its sale of defective respirators.
Bill and Becky Tyler were represented at trial by Kazan Law partners Joe Satterley and Denyse Clancy and associates Joe Nicholson and Mark Swanson.
In closing argument, Ms. Clancy told the jurors that this was an American tragedy, because a company who knew that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos failed to protect the workers who looked to it for their safety needs.
After the verdict was returned, Mr. Satterley stated: “Justice has been served. American Optical falsely told the public that its respirator protected against asbestos dust, when in fact it had greater than 20% leakage. As a result, Bill Tyler and untold others like him breathed in large quantities of asbestos, thinking all the time they were safe. But they were not.”