$8.26M LIVING MESOTHELIOMA JURY VERDICT AGAINST FORD MOTOR CO
Plaintiff, Mr. Steven “Joe” Aaron, a lifelong resident of Ouachita Parish, worked and supported his family as a gas station and school bus mechanic throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In 2020, Plaintiff was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a fatal form of cancer, which is only caused by exposure to asbestos. Plaintiff alleged and ultimately proved at trial that he was exposed to asbestos while servicing brakes and clutches on vehicles manufactured by Defendant Ford Motor Company. The trial lasted two and a half weeks.
On the eve of trial, Defendants improperly removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (“EDLA”) on the basis of diversity. Plaintiff immediately filed his Emergency Motion for Remand and requested expedited consideration thereto. EDLA Judge Mary Lemmon found that removing Defendants failed to meet their heavy burden with regard to demonstrating complete diversity between the parties. On June 10, 2021, approximately 72 hours after removal, the case was remanded back to the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, and jury selection commenced on June 14, 2021. To accommodate social distancing protocols, jury selection was conducted in the Chambers of the City of New Orleans' City Council. A jury of 12, plus two alternates, was sworn in by 5:00 pm on June 14, 2021.
On June 30, 2021, approximately one hour after being duly charged by the Trial Court Judge Ethel Simms Julien, the jury returned a verdict of $8,261,874.96, which included $6 million in general damages, and $2.26 million in special (medical expenses and loss of earning capacity) damages. In returning their verdict, the jury found that Ford Motor Company – and several other entities, none of whom were present at trial, except Ford - was at fault, and was strictly liable and had failed to warn Plaintiff of the hazards associated with asbestos exposure from their brake and friction products, and that such failure to warn substantially contributed to and caused Mr. Aaron to develop mesothelioma.
Aaron v. Bancroft Bag, Inc., et al., No. 2020-06964, Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, 6/30/2021
Plaintiff's counsel: Lindsey Cheek and Jeanne Arceneaux of The Cheek Law Firm, LLC, New Orleans; Daniel Blouin, Donald Blydenburgh, Todd Neilson, and Casey Cira of Simmons Hanley Conroy, Alton, IL
Plaintiff's experts: Dr. Arnold Brody, Boca Raton, FL; Dr. Richard Cohen., Saratoga, CA; William Ewing, CIH, Kennesaw, GA; Robert Johnson, Los Altos, CA; Dr. Marty Kanarek, Madison, WI; Dr. James Millette, Lilburn, GA; and Dr. Brent Staggs, Little Rock, AR.
Practice area(s): Civil Litigation