Monday, February 6, 2012

Mesothelioma Patient’s Bill of Rights

We, the mesothelioma patients of the United States, in order to form a more humane justice system, enhance domestic tranquility, provide for quality of life, promote the healing process, respect the rights of the injured to seek redress, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our families, do propose this Mesothelioma Patients’ Bill of Rights.

1.   Neither the courts nor the defendants shall do harm to a mesothelioma patient who seeks compensation for injuries caused by asbestos poisoning.

2.   If a mesothelioma patient shall produce a prescription from a treating doctor limiting the hours of a deposition, the court shall enforce said time limit in the interest of the patient’s life, liberty and dignity.

3.   Depositions of a mesothelioma patient should follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and be limited to seven hours.

4.   If the defendants seek additional time for cross examination, they shall carry the burden of proving, through admissible evidence, that the additional time is necessary to discover facts not more efficiently obtained elsewhere; moreover, that the added time, in the opinion of the patient’s treating doctor, will not do harm to the patient. 

5.   If a trial date has been set in a mesothelioma patient’s case, and the patient should pass away before resolution of the case, the patient’s estate shall have the same claims as if the patient was still alive. The defendants shall obtain no economic windfall because the plaintiff has passed away as a result of the tumor caused by asbestos.

6.   If a mesothelioma patient’s treating physician provides the court a sworn declaration attesting that substantial doubt exists regarding the patient’s survival beyond six months, and the patient commences a deposition but passes away before the deposition is concluded, the completed testimony provided shall be admissible at trial.

We hold this policy to be self-evident, that simply because a patient seeks justice for injuries as a result of asbestos poisoning, that worthy pursuit does not give the defendant cause to retaliate with torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments.

The Worthington Law Firm
February 6, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Los Angeles Jury Awards More Than $5.55 Million to 70 Year Old Navy Veteran

Los Angeles Jury Awards More Than $5.55 Million to 70 Year Old Navy Veteran and Pump Mechanic Exposed to Dust From Asbestos Gaskets and Packing While Working at C&H Sugar in Benicia, California.

Richard Keeney
The Worthington Law Firm and co-counsel The Farrise Law Firm are pleased to report that on January 27, 2012, a Los Angeles, California jury of 6 men and 6 women awarded more than $5,550,000 in favor of their clients Richard Keeney and Howard Garcia. Mr. Keeney declares, “I am utterly amazed at what the two firms have done for me. They both worked really hard.”

Mr. Keeney is a 70 year-old gentleman who served his country in the U.S. Navy from 1958 to 1979, earning five Good Conduct Awards, a National Defense Service Medal, a Vietnam Service Medal, a Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea) and a Navy Unit Commendation. After his retirement from the Navy, Mr. Keeney worked as a pump mechanic at the C&H Sugar plant in Benicia, California from 1976 to 1995.

While working at C&H Sugar, Mr. Keeney was frequently exposed to dust from asbestos gasket and packing materials used with pumps and other machinery at the plant. In January 2011, Mr. Keeney was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, a cancer which attacks the linings of the lungs in persons exposed to asbestos. Mr. Keeney has received treatment for his disease at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center including a lung-sparing pleurectomy/decortication surgery performed by surgical oncologist Robert Cameron, M.D.

In March 2011, the Worthington and Farrise firms filed a lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Keeney and his domestic partner against over 45 defendants. Pre-trial settlements were reached with many defendants. On December 12, 2011, the case proceeded to trial against John Crane, Inc., a company which manufactured and/or sold more than 300 different asbestos containing gasket and packing styles from 1917 through at least 1985.

Rick's honorable
discharge from the
U.S. Navy, 1979
Trial lasted approximately 4 weeks. Attorneys Simona A. Farrise and Carlos Guzman lead the effort for plaintiffs. After deliberating for 14 days, the jury awarded damages of more than $5,550,000 in favor of Mr. Keeney and Mr. Garcia. The jury found John Crane, Inc. 12% negligent and strictly liable for its asbestos gasket and packing materials that Mr. Keeney worked with for approximately 15 years. According to Mr. Keeney, he states “I don’t want to put a value on someone’s life, but I think what the jury and the court decided is fair.”

Mr. Keeney is glad that the case has finally come to an end and states that he’s been amazed by the process and what his legal team has been able to do for him. He states that he was “…flabbergasted by the defense tactics of deflecting blame even when confronted with the facts. It boggled my mind and was hard for an ill person like myself to tolerate day after day.” He is grateful for the dogged representation of his attorneys, especially Simona Farrise, whom he describes as “ferocious” and “relentless” in her fight for his rights.

Recovering from
February, 2011
Mr. Keeney will now return his focus to fighting his disease with the assistance of Dr. Robert Cameron. A new spot was recently found in his pleural cavity which will soon be biopsied. If the growth is malignant, Dr. is recommending cryoablation, a new minimally invasive procedure which uses controlled freezing to dissipate small tumors. Mr. Keeney describes Dr. Cameron as “incredibly well-informed and absolutely wonderful” and states that it is a constant “relief to know that I am in the right hands.”

When things settle down, Mr. Keeney and his domestic partner, Mr. Garcia, to whom the jury awarded damages for loss of consortium, are looking forward to traveling to Washington D.C. where he plans to re-visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the United States Navy Memorial. “Having the opportunity to take this much awaited trip confirms for me how great it is to be an American. I'm grateful to have had access to outstanding medical and legal talent.”

February 1, 2012