Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fresno Jury Finds Bendix Despicable, Awards $10.9 Million

Jimmy Phillips
San Pedro, CA, May 29, 2014 – The Worthington & Caron Law Firm is pleased to announce that a jury in Fresno,California has returned a substantial verdict in favor of our clients, the family of James ‘Jimmy’ Phillips, deceased, a 59 year-old plumber and race car enthusiast.

Defendant Honeywell, whose predecessor, Bendix, made asbestos-containing brake pads and linings, was the only defendant at trial. The jury awarded $7.4 million in compensatory damages and assigned 30% of fault to Bendix. The jury also found that Bendix acted with reckless indifference and awarded an additional $3.5 million in punitive damages. This was the first mesothelioma verdict ever awarded in Fresno.

The lawsuit was originally filed in May of 2012 in Alameda County, California. The defendants fought to transfer venue to Fresno, where they anticipated a more “defense-friendly” jury pool. The Fresno jury deliberated six days before rendering its verdict in favor of the Phillips family. The trial team of Stuart Purdy and Rob Green (attorneys with co-counsel Simon, Greenstone, Panatier, Bartlett) did an outstanding job putting on a strong case against a very tough defendant in a new jurisdiction.

According to Rob Green, "Jim was always the guy the family and community called on to help them out when something went wrong. It was an honor to help out Jim and his family. Our trial was straightforward. We explained what science, medicine and common sense told us, and what every reputable expert in the field agreed with, about this defendant’s asbestos products. The jury understood it and held them accountable.”

Jimmy was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma in March of 2012. After nearly 11 months of treatment, Jimmy passed away from his asbestos-caused cancer.

Purdy and Green presented evidence that Jimmy was exposed to asbestos dust from automotive products while working on cars, race cars, trucks and heavy equipment beginning in the 1960s.

John Caron of Worthington & Caron notes, “How many men like Jim spent time as a teenager working part-time at a service station or doing shade tree work on their cars? This was a virtual rite of passage in our car-crazed nation in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Unfortunately, this little slice of Americana had deadly consequences for Jim and many others because of the asbestos that manufacturers like Bendix included in their products. We applaud the Fresno jury for holding Bendix accountable for its role in causing the nightmare the Phillips family has been living since Jim’s diagnosis.”

Charity and Jimmy Phillips

Jimmy leaves behind Charity, his wife 41 years, five children and fourteen grandchildren. The family has chosen to work through their loss by banding together to help others in their battle against cancer. On May 24, Kourtni McLaughlin, one of Jimmy’s daughters, organized the 1st Annual “Jimmy’s Golf Tournament” in Mariposa, California. The tournament was an incredible success. A small army of friends and family helped raise over $12,000, half of which was donated to support mesothelioma research at the Pacific Meso Center in Los Angeles, California. The other half will be distributed to local families battling cancer and towards a college scholarship at the local high school.

Worthington & Caron are proud to be Gold Sponsors of the 1st Annual Jimmy's Golf Tournament, and look forward to many more years of supporting this worthy fundraiser that honors an outstanding man.

Charity is extremely grateful and thankful to all of her attorneys. “I am so proud of Stu and Rob. They never backed down, for Jimmy. The entire legal team was so supportive, both with any legal issues as well as personal issues. Those boys fought long and hard for Jimmy. I consider them a part of my family now. I miss them!”

For more information, please contact, or 800-31-9399.  Worthington & Caron is located in San Pedro, California. You can also visit

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Worthington & Caron Proud to Again Sponsor the 4th Annual International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

On June 7 some of the leading physicians involved in the diagnosis and treatment of pleural mesothelioma will meet at the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica, California for the 4th Annual International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. The symposium will be an all-day affair and begin at 8 am.

Worthington & Caron is proud to sponsor this symposium for the fourth consecutive year.

Once again, Dr. Robert B. Cameron will lead the symposium.  In addition to being the Director of the UCLA Mesothelioma Comprehensive Research Program, Dr. Cameron also is the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center and Scientific Advisor at the Pacific Meso Center.

Although the seminar is geared toward physicians, it also offers continuing medical education credit and the latest information on mesothelioma for medical students, nurses, mesothelioma patients and their families

The Symposium is co-hosted by UCLA and the Pacific Meso Center. Joining Dr. Cameron will be several physicians (both 'home-grown' and international colleagues) and mesothelioma advocates, including:

  • Olga Olevsky, MD, of UCLA Medical Center
  • Percy Lee, MD, Chief Thoracic Radiation Oncology at UCLA
  • Dr. Richard Lemen, Former Assistant Surgeon General of the United States
  • Irene I-Lan Wu, MD, UCLA Pain Management Center 
  • Joachim Aerts, MD, of Erasmus MC Cancer Institute in the Netherlands
  • Jan P. van Meerbeeck, MD of Antwerp University Hospital in Belgium,
  • Linda Reinstein, President/CEO and Co-Founder Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization,
The symposium will be divided into four sessions: Lung-Sparing Surgical Techniques, Lung-Sparing Adjuvant Therapies, Potential Future Adjuvant Therapies and Supportive Therapies.

To register for the symposium, click here.

For a copy of the brochure, click here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Secretary Shinseki – Please Notify Veterans There’s No Waiting List at the Zumwalt Mesothelioma Treatment Program in Los Angeles

Dear Secretary Shinseki,

Zumwalt Meso
Treatment Program 
The best medical plan 
no veterans know about.

It’s upsetting to read the allegations in the news about secret wait lists, cover-ups, shabby treatment, premature deaths and a culture of apathy permeating the Department of Veterans Affairs.

What’s equally upsetting is letting veterans suffer and die with either no or minimal treatment even though a qualified medical team is standing by and eager to treat them.

For months now, patients and advocates (including Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.)) have been entreating you and Under Secretary Petzel to simply notify patients and doctors within the vast VA network of the world-class treatment available to veterans suffering from mesothelioma as a result of service-related asbestos exposure. 

About a year ago, the VA Medical Center in West Los Angeles, California approved (but did not budget) the Admiral Zumwalt Mesothelioma Treatment Program. The program is headed up by Dr. Robert Cameron, a well-respected thoracic surgeon who has dedicated his life to the rational treatment of pleural mesothelioma, a cancer which disproportionately impacts US service veterans.

Dr. Cameron and his crew are eager to treat veterans. Unfortunately, despite multiple requests and promises, the VA has yet to perform the simple administrative task of  updating its website and other social media about the existence of the program--notices that would alert veterans suffering from mesothelioma to the high quality treatment which is available them. Neither the VA nor West LA VA websites even mention the program. Please see our letter to Dr. Dean Norman, Chief of Staff, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. 

"When a veteran is
denied care, we are 
all dishonored." 
Barack Obama, 
Aug. 2007.
The mesothelioma treatment team at the West LA VA Medical Center would love to have a list of veterans to treat. But there’s no list, no waiting list and no effort to educate our war heroes stricken with asbestos cancer that help is available.

You’ve read about the double digit number of veterans who have allegedly died while waiting to be treated.  We may never know how many veterans with mesothelioma have died after receiving no or sub-standard treatment. 

According to the popular literature, about 4,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Of those, roughly a third were exposed to asbestos while serving in the Navy. It’s not a stretch to surmise that at least 600 Navy veterans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year--a diagnosis that carries a 9 month life expectancy with no treatment and 11-12 months with chemotherapy only.

Mesothelioma is a rare disease and few doctors are either interested or qualified to treat it with the full arsenal of options available.  It’s a beautiful thing that a world-renowned surgeon like Dr. Cameron is willing to treat veterans, but it’s sad that the VA has done nothing to help educate patients about his extraordinary talents.

Secretary Shinseki, how many vets have to die before this issue finally works its way up to the inbox in your office? We’ve been sending letters to Under Secretary Petzel as well as our representatives for several months. Now that he’s resigned in the wake of the Phoenix scandal, what will happen to those heart-felt letters from patients and their families? Who will read them? Anybody? And more importantly, what will the VA do?

Secretary Shinseki,
please include 
building the Zumwalt
Meso Program in 
your mission to 
provide better and 
more timely
care to veterans.
Secretary Shinseki, we agree with you when you say that it’s your “mission” to provide quality care to each and every veteran. You say you’re “mad as hell” about recent allegations and vow “to do better.” With a budget of $164 billion, to your credit, you haven’t blamed the missteps on a lack of money. And you’re wise to investigate the nexus, if  any, between the waiting lists, which are a fact of life in modern patient management, and premature deaths.

But we are still waiting for a response. The request is simple: Will you please educate veterans and all caregivers within the VA system that the Zumwalt Mesothelioma Treatment Program is alive and well and eager to provide prompt, world-class treatment to veterans suffering from mesothelioma (without placing them on a long list!).

With new reports of the VA medical system’s failures capturing headlines every day, what better time to finally bring attention to an area where the VA has gotten it right!


Roger G. Worthington
May 20, 2014

The family of former Veteran John Johnson has pledged to help 
fund the Zumwalt Meso Program at the West LA VA.

Friday, May 9, 2014

An Asbestos Decision That Disserves Our Vets

As Posted in the Huffington Post
by: Joanne DoroshowMay 8, 2014 
Asbestos is one of those lethal toxins that should not persist as a problem in this country, but it does. Companies still use it, workers are still exposed to it and 10,000 Americans still die from asbestos-related illnesses every year.
In January 2014, a new ruling was issued in an asbestos case involving Garlock Sealing Technologies. You may never have heard of this company, but anyone who has worked on a Navy ship or submarine probably has. Garlock made gaskets that contain asbestos, which are used in pipes and valves that transport hot fluids -- so hot, in fact, that the gaskets often disintegrate and require replacement. Sometimes by the time a worker gets to the asbestos gasket, it is "crushed" and "baked to the surface" and has to be pulled or torn off in "bits and pieces," as one worker explained in testimony. This creates dust. And the dust is inhaled.
Garlock is one of the world's largest asbestos-containing gasket and packing manufacturers. It has been a major player in the asbestos industry for decades, and was even a founder and member of the Board of Governors of the Asbestos Textile Institute, along with more well-known companies like Raybestos and Johns-Manville. Like all asbestos companies, it has known for decades that its asbestos was lethal. In the 1980s, Garlock warned companies that inhalation of airborne fibers from its gaskets could cause "well-known long term effects of Asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma." Mesothelioma is a horrible lung disease that is always fatal, with most dying within 18 months. It was Garlock's mesothelioma victims who were involved in this new case. But in January, the judge -- in his first and only asbestos case -- decided to reduce by about 90 percent the amount Garlock owes its more than 4,000 Navy vets and other mesothelioma victims.
In order to support this incredibly harsh decision that could bring great suffering to many Navy vets who do not deserve it, the judge made findings and drew conclusions that no experienced asbestos judge has ever done, and which, in fact, strain credulity. He decided that Garlock was the victim of a decades-long campaign by asbestos victims and their attorneys to mislead court after court, concluding that the entire legal system in these cases -- where Garlock lost before juries and settled thousands of claims -- was "infected" by dying victims and their lawyers. These victims supposedly "abused" Garlock by duping the company's top-notch litigators in thousands of cases, as well as every other experienced judge in every case brought against Garlock. Not only that, the victims themselves, many of whom are veterans who served their country, must have knowingly participated in misleading the courts.
Common sense suggests otherwise. But so does overwhelming evidence. The judge grossly misstated the "science" around Garlock's asbestos and asbestos disease. He found that Garlock's asbestos, which workers inhaled, was not lethal even though the company's own incriminating documents say it is. So do the Occupational Safety & Heath Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Scientists believe that Garlock's asbestos is a significant cause of asbestos diseases; there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Yet the judge found none of this "probative," suggesting it proves nothing.
To cut compensation to these victims, the court said that it would ignore Garlock's past litigation record or the prior judgment of judges as guidance, suggesting that victims and their attorneys had tricked them all. This is absurd. The reason Garlock settled cases was not because of anything the victims and their lawyers did, but because of the crushing evidence against it. Perhaps nothing was more instructive than the jury verdict in the 2004 case brought by Robert Treggett, a nuclear trained machinist who, while serving in the Navy, repaired and maintained nuclear propulsion plant equipment, including Garlock gaskets. In the Treggett case, the jury awarded substantial punitive damages against Garlock, directed specifically at the company's conduct of "oppression." In the new case, however, the judge misstated the actual trial testimony of Mr. Treggett, claiming that Mr. Treggett said things he never said. This misstatement provided a basis for finding that his attorneys engaged in misconduct. It is one of the more deeply troubling aspects of this decision, and the reason behind this blatant misrepresentation remains entirely unclear.
This case has generated a good deal of reaction from the asbestos lobby, which is seeking legislation to limit industry liability and make it harder for dying asbestos victims to obtain compensation. However, the bottom line is this: at best this decision is an outlier that should not be the basis for any policy decisions. At worst, it raises disturbing questions about a decision that contradicts two decades of rulings by experienced judges, verdicts from juries throughout the country, the opinion of scientists for every regulatory agency in the nation, and Garlock itself.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Another Successful Event Helping Raise Meso Awareness

Michael Johnson (r) and his
family along
with Roger Worthington (l)
Dana Point, CA.  Mercy, mercy, mercy. What a day! The 8th annual Dana Point Grand Prix remained the premier event of the year, attended by thousands of cheering fans. Over 900 racers competed as well as over 425 youngsters in the action packed kids races.

As proud sponsors of the DPGP, which was held on May 4, Worthington & Caron could only take a deep breath and appreciate all the racers, bike fans, fellow sponsors and more importantly the enthusiasm and commitment of the Dana Point Community.

The weather was perfect, the course was perfect and the racing -- spectacular.

Roger with Gary and Suzie Morse

The John Johnson Pro Criterium (JJPC), the last race of the day lived up to it's billing as one of the fastest criteriums in the country.  This race, however, was more than a race -- it was more of a movement. 

Spearheaded by Michael Johnson (who competed in three races that day!) the JJPC was named in honor of Michael’s dad, John Johnson a Marine and plumber who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011. John Johnson fought valiantly through his medical treatments and through the legal system before passing away from mesothelioma in 2012.

The JJPC was formed by the Johnson family to promote public awareness of mesothelioma which affects too many military veterans. The Johnson family has also helped fund a mesothelioma treatment center at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.  Worthington & Caron is proud to represent this honorable, brave and reverent family.
Scott and Lisa Hill with
their children

We were delighted to see several mesothelioma patients and there families at the JJPC, including Gary Morse.   Mr.Morse served in the United States Navy. Although scheduled to undergo surgery the next day with Dr. Robert Cameron at UCLA Medical, Gary and his lovely wife Suzie enjoyed the spills and thrills in the VIP tent.  It was great to see them enjoying their day in the sun. 

We were also pleased to see the family of Ron Hill, who served in the National Guard. Ron was at his home recovering from his recent surgery. His son Scott was having a great time with his family, who came down to support the Johnson family's campaign to draw attention to the need for more medical support of veterans with mesothelioma at the West LA VA.

W&C would like to again thank the City of Dana Point for supporting this bike race, festival and fundraiser for the past eight years.

All net proceeds from the race registration will be donated to charities, including the 5th Marine Regiment Support Group, The Boys and Girls Club, and the Dana Point Community Cycling Foundation.

Friday, May 2, 2014

$4M for Family with Patience, Faith and Determination

Larry Kinseth was 68 years old when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2007. Seeking the best treatment, Larry met with oncologists at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota as well as surgical oncologists in Los Angeles, California.  

Though his local physicians discouraged him from undergoing any type surgery, Larry thought he had to do whatever he could, and if that meant traveling a great distance, then he would do it. He would travel to the end of the world if need be. Any distance, no matter how far.

Time is also a measure of distance.

Time is something Larry’s family persevered through as they waited for the appropriate justice to be awarded.  Larry’s legal marathon began in January of 2008 in Wright County, Iowa.  It was then that his mesothelioma lawsuit was filed against over 30 defendants.  Before the date of his trial Larry passed away in January of 2009.

Over the next five years, there were trial dates set in July of 2012, September of 2012, February of 2013, May of 2013 each of which were continued by the courts.  Finally, this March a firm trial date was reached and the trial began. The lone defendant left in the lawsuit was Weil-McLain.

On April 25, a jury returned a verdict of $4 million dollars in compensatory damages. The Kinseth family’s patience was finally rewarded.  Although the time spent waiting for justice will never come close to healing the wound left with Larry’s passing, just knowing that the jury members and others following the lawsuit will realize the terrible injustices the asbestos companies have done to the working man and woman is of some comfort.

During Larry’s treatments, he faced many painful and uncomfortable days.  He never lost faith, not in his doctors nor his legal team. He always told himself, his family and his attorneys “there will always be obstacles, but know you have to get to the end.” 

The Kinseth legal team was made up of attorneys from Worthington & Caron and Simon, Greenstone, Panatier & Bartlett