Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
On Thursday, December 22, 2022, a Philadelphia jury handed down a $25 million verdict in an asbestosis case brought by the law firm of Nass Cancelliere. The award was comprised of $15 million in non-economic damages to 76-year-old plaintiff, Richard Daciw, and $10 million in loss of consortium damages to his wife, Winifred. John Crane, Inc. was the sole remaining defendant at trial. Twenty entities were included on the verdict sheet, comprised of both premises/employer defendants and product liability defendants. The jury found liability as to eight of these entities, including John Crane, Inc., but notably, the verdict sheet did not provide for percentage apportionment. The jury found each of the liable entities’ products to be defective as they lacked warnings, and further found that exposure to their products resulted in Mr. Daciw’s asbestosis.
Trial began on December 12 before Judge Ann Butchart. Plaintiff’s counsel called Dr. Arthur Frank, an expert in occupational medicine, treating pulmonologist Dr. Daniel DuPont, and Steven Compton, a materials scientist at MVA Scientific Consultants, as experts. The defense called pulmonologist Dr. Stanley B. Fiel, CIH John L. Henshaw, and Captain Margaret McCloskey, a naval librarian.
During his deposition, Mr. Daciw alleged that he was exposed to asbestos while serving as a fireman and shipfitter in the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1969, while working as a maintenance mechanic at Jeffries Processors in Philadelphia from 1969 to 1972, while working as a pipefitter at Domino Sugar in Philadelphia from 1972 to 1983, and then at Smith Kline in Conshohocken from 1983 to 2004. He identified various brands of pumps, valves, boilers, turbines, cement, packing, and gaskets as sources of his alleged occupational exposure. In addition to this, Mr. Daciw also alleged Shadetree automotive exposure from replacing brakes on his personal automobiles from the 1960s through the 1980s. Dr. DuPont allegedly diagnosed Mr. Daciw with asbestosis in January 2019—almost four years prior to the verdict.
Read the full decision here.