Our national mass tort lawyers represent victims of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma across the state of California. We have the resources and expertise to get top level compensation for California mesothelioma lawsuits. On this page, we will look at mesothelioma lawsuits in California and their settlement payout value.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is rare and deadly. It is also very unusual because unlike other cancers which are linked to genetics and various other risk factors, mesothelioma is only linked to a single cause: asbestos exposure. Asbestos exposure, specifically inhaling airborne particles of asbestos, is the only thing that causes mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is cancer that develops in the lining that covers certain organs inside the body. There are 3 different subtypes of mesothelioma based on exactly where the cancer originates in the body.
The most common subtype of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common type. Pleural mesothelioma accounts for over 80 percent of all mesothelioma cases. This type occurs when the cancer forms in the lining surrounding the lung tissue. Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs when the cancer originates in the tissue surrounding the abdominal cavity.
Just 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed annually in the U.S. That makes mesothelioma one of the least common types of cancer (less than 1 percent of cancer cases). Sadly, mesothelioma is extremely aggressive and one of the most (if not the most) deadliest cancer types. The overall 5-year survival rate for mesothelioma is only 12%.
Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma
One of the unique aspects of mesothelioma is that is essentially a man-made type of cancer. This is because the only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos fibers in the air. Only people who are exposed to asbestos fibers at some point in their life will develop mesothelioma.
Asbestos is natural mineral fiber that is formed in the earth. Asbestos fibers are virtually indestructible because they can withstand the most extreme temperatures without breaking down. Asbestos also does not conduct electricity and does not corrode or degrade over time. These qualities and its ready availability made asbestos one of the most widely used commercial materials in the 20th century. Asbestos was used in thousands of commercial, consumer and industrial contexts.
As airborne asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they accumulate inside the body and never disappear. Eventually, the accumulated fibers become embedded in the tissue and lining of the lungs, abdomen, or other organs. Once lodged in this tissue, the asbestos fibers cause chronic irritation, inflammation, and scarring. Over time, these sites of chronic inflammation and scarring from the asbestos fibers form mesothelioma tumors. Asbestos is considered one of the most carcinogenic and has been completely banned in most developed countries.
The latency period between exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma is very long. The asbestos accumulations inside the body can take 15 or 20 years to form into mesothelioma. In many cases, however, the latency period can be even longer.
Secondary Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos stopped being used in the 1970s and by 1980 the use of asbestos ended almost entirely. It has now been over 40 years since asbestos was commonly used, which means that many people who had direct occupational exposure to asbestos have already died. Today, more and more plaintiffs in mesothelioma cases are alleging secondary asbestos exposure either from a father or relative who brought asbestos home on their work clothes, or an asbestos site near their home.
Settlement Value of California Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Mesothelioma lawsuits have a very high potential settlement value for several reasons. First, mesothelioma is one of the worst and most deadly types of cancer, so the damages are always significant. The second reason is that mesothelioma is only known to be caused by asbestos exposure (and nothing else) which makes establishing causation very easy in most cases.
These days, causation is not really an issue in mesothelioma cases. Instead, main challenge in most mesothelioma lawsuits today is not proving that asbestos cause the disease, but whether the plaintiff identify specific asbestos products that they were exposed to so that defendants can be identified. This is often hard because a long time has usually passed since the plaintiff used the products, or they are already dead. Most mesothelioma cases today settled out of court with an average value of range of $1,200,000 to $2,750,000.
California Mesothelioma Verdicts and Settlements
Below are summaries of verdicts and reported settlements from California mesothelioma lawsuits.
$18,800,000 Verdict (California 2023): The plaintiff said a baby powder product used on him as an infant contained asbestos and asbestiform fibers and included no warnings about health hazards, asbestos, or cancer. He also alleged that the defendant Johnson & Johnson’s advertising indicated that the product was safe. The plaintiff reportedly was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He said his exposure to asbestos and asbestiform fibers from his use of the product increased his risk of developing the cancer.
$40,000,000 Verdict (California 2023): The decedent served in the U.S. military, owned an electric motor repair and rewind shop, and repaired electric motors, including those manufactured by defendant Emerson Electric Co. In the military, the decedent reportedly was exposed to asbestos while he worked as a radioman in the 1950s. In his civilian life, beginning in the 1960s and lasting for more than 30 years, he allegedly performed repair and rewind work on motors that exposed him to their internal parts, including asbestos-containing slot insulation, phase paper insulation, and varnish. He died of mesothelioma and his estate sued Emerson and others.
$710,000 Verdict (California 2022): The decedent, a former sheet metal worker, claimed that he was exposed to asbestos on the job because he worked on machines that contained friction parts made out of asbestos that released airborne asbestos particles in the air. The estate sue the company that made the machines that the decedent worked on. The jury found for the plaintiff, but determined defendant Cincinnati was 5% responsible for the decedent’s mesothelioma and nonparty Frigid Coil, one of the decedent’s employers, was 90% liable.
$2,545,000 Verdict (California 2020): The plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He claimed the mesothelioma was caused by his cumulative exposure to asbestos in several products, including insulation products sold by defendant Metalclad Insulation LLC. The plaintiff claimed the defendant was strictly liable for his harm based on the theories of design defect, failure to warn, and negligent failure to warn; he also asserted causes of action against the defendant for negligence based on the defendant’s alleged failure to warn and failure to recall or retrofit its asbestos installation products.
$28,435,000 Verdict (California 2019): The plaintiff, an electrician, reportedly developed mesothelioma from his occupational exposure between 1958 and 1995 to asbestos-containing products manufactured, sold and supplied by defendant General Cable Corporation. The plaintiff asserted claims against the defendant based on (1) negligent manufacturing and supply of asbestos-containing products, (2) negligent failure to warn of the dangers of its products, (3) strict liability for a design defect under the consumer expectation test, and (4) strict liability failure to warn of the danger of the use of the products.
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If you have a mesothelioma lawsuit in California, contact us for a free consultation. Call us at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.