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Poole & Shaffery Obtains Victory at Trial in Living Mesothelioma Case

Back in March, we reported on a defense verdict obtained by Poole & Shaffery after a month-long trial in a tractor collision matter. Today, we are pleased to report that on June 2, 2015, after more than three weeks of trial, Poole & Shaffery with John Shaffery as lead trial counsel, successfully moved for a nonsuit in an asbestos action (living mesothelioma) and secured its tenth victory at trial in the past five years.

In the asbestos action, Poole & Shaffery represented a contractor who provided plastering services during the 1960s. The plaintiff was an owner and developer of various apartment complexes throughout Santa Clarita County who claimed that he developed peritoneal mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products used by the firm's client while performing their job duties. The plaintiff alleged causes of actions for negligence, strict liability, false representation, intentional tort/intentional failure to warn, and a claim for loss of consortium brought by the plaintiff's wife. The Plaintiffs were represented by Gary Paul of Waters, Kraus & Paul.

The process of whittling down the plaintiff's case began before trial when Poole & Shaffery filed a motion for summary adjudication as to the plaintiff's causes of action for false representation, intentional tort/intentional failure to warn, and claim for punitive damages. The court granted the motion for summary adjudication.

During trial, Poole & Shaffery convinced counsel for the plaintiff that strict liability was not a viable cause of action against Poole & Shaffery's client as a contractor does not have any control over the manufacture and distribution of the products they use in the performance of their service. Plaintiff's counsel eventually conceded and withdrew the cause of action against Poole & Shaffery's client.

With only the negligence and loss of consortium causes of action remaining, Poole & Shaffery filed a decisive motion in limine to preclude plaintiff's counsel from making reference to a California regulation that plaintiff's counsel intended to use to imply that Poole & Shaffery's client had a heightened duty to the plaintiff. The Court granted Poole & Shaffery's motion and plaintiff was precluded from referencing the regulation during trial. Accordingly, without being able to make reference to a heightened duty or otherwise present evidence that Poole & Shaffery's client failed to act in a reasonable manner, Poole & Shaffery moved for a nonsuit at the end of the plaintiff's case in chief. The Court, finding that the plaintiff had failed to present any evidence or make an adequate legal showing to prove a prima facie case of negligence against Poole & Shaffery's client, granted nonsuit.