Friday, December 20, 2013

Worthington Supports Innovative Stem Cell Therapy Initiative for Mesothelioma. Donates $100,000 to Pacific Meso Center

[San Pedro, CA.]  Roger Worthington of Worthington & Caron, PC announced today he is donating $100,000 to the Pacific Meso Center (PMC) in Los Angeles, California to help continue their research on the use of modified stem cells to treat patients stricken with malignant mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos.

“I continue to be amazed by the cutting edge and brilliant research being done by the PMC,” said Mr. Worthington, who has been representing asbestos cancer patients for 25 years.

“With the encouragement of Scientific Advisor, Dr. Robert Cameron, the PMC has been working on an exciting project that is exploring the potential for treating meso patients with modified stem cells from discarded placentas.  It’s tougher than ever these days for scientists to fund research on rare diseases and I’m pleased to help.”

In a nutshell, PMC’s “mesenchymal stem cell program” works like this. Stems cells are harvested from discarded placentas, modified with immunological agents, and put into a “spheroid” model to test how changes to the tumor environment in the chest can ally with the body’s natural defenses to destroy tumor cells after surgery.

“The goal is to inject the modified stem cells, which the body doesn't readily reject, into the chest cavity after surgery, “explained Dr. Cameron, a world renown thoracic surgeon at UCLA Medical School.  “If the therapy ‘takes,’ then the body can destroy the mesothelioma cells that remain in the chest after a successful surgery, and the patient can avoid chemotherapy and radiation. “  

Currently, even with the best surgical technique, after surgery the chest cavity is blanketed with microscopic tumor cells. As a result, the question is not so much whether the tumor will recur, but when. To prolong the date of recurrence, patients are forced to endure often-debilitating radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Over the past 12 years, Worthington has supported a number of treatment- related projects, including immunotherapy, interferon alpha maintenance therapy, cryoablation and Interleukin (IL-4) immunotoxin therapy. 

“The goal has always been to give mesothelioma patients more treatment options,” said Worthington. “But the reality is to truly take a whack at mesothelioma, it’s going to take a lot more public and private funding. I hope my donation can encourage other lawyers, as well as everyone involved with this disease, to give back as well.”

For more information about the Pacific Mesothelioma Center, please click on  

Roger Worthington, Esq. can be reached via or by phone at 800.831.9399.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Justice Delayed, But Not Denied--$8.6 Million Verdict In Favor Of Family of 68 Year-Old Refinery Worker

The Law Office of Worthington & Caron PC is pleased to report that a Los Angeles jury has recently returned an $8.6 million verdict in favor of our clients, the surviving wife and daughters of a 68 year-old refinery worker, in a case titled Saller v. Crown Cork & Seal.

The verdict is the culmination of a long and emotional ordeal for the family which began in June of 2005 when Mr. Saller was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. A proud man with much to live for, Mr. Saller fought valiantly against his disease, undergoing a ten-hour surgery followed by over a month of radiation treatments.

A former Marine Corporal, refinery worker and heavy equipment operator, Mr. Saller worked hard for everything he accomplished in his life. He certainly never thought of himself as a person who would file a personal injury lawsuit. But after learning how long companies continued selling asbestos after knowing it caused lung disease and cancer, he concluded that filing a lawsuit was the right and just thing to do. His asbestos disease was threatening the financial security he worked so hard to attain. He knew that his life and the lives of his wife and daughters would never be the same. So he decided to fight back.

Through his legal team, the Worthington & Caron and Waters, Kraus & Paul law firms, a lawsuit was filed against over 20 defendants on November 1, 2005. On January 19, 2006, Mr. Saller began what proved to be a lengthy deposition in which he was questioned for days by asbestos company lawyers. Unfortunately, Mr. Saller’s condition began to decline and it became more and more difficult for him to concentrate and endure the questioning.

“Mr. Saller’s body was slowly shutting down,” recalls attorney John Caron, who represented Mr. Saller through the entirety of the deposition. “He knew that if he didn’t complete his deposition, any hope of achieving justice for his family would be lost. He knew he was losing the battle against his disease, but he would not give in to it until he finished the job he had started.”

Mr. Saller completed the job on February 2, 2006. He passed away a week later on February 9, 2006.

Having witnessed Mr. Saller fight so courageously for them, his wife and daughters resolved to finish the job he had started. Their case dragged through the system until finally being called for trial almost two years later in December 2007. Mrs. Saller and her daughters endured hours of Mr. Saller’s videotaped testimony, reliving the steady demise that ultimately led to his passing. The family was hopeful that the jury would grant them the justice that Mr. Saller fought so hard to achieve. But the jury felt compelled to find against the family, and in favor of the two companies remaining in the case, because of what were believed to be improper jury instructions given by the judge.

The family’s fight for justice didn’t end there. An appeal was filed in which the court of appeal was asked to reverse the trial court’s judgment based on the improper jury instructions. The asbestos company lawyers opposed the appeal and the matter languished in the system for over three years. But on August 27, 2010, the court of appeal found that the trial judge’s instructions were indeed improper and had denied justice to the Saller family. Accordingly, the court of appeal returned the case to the trial court for a new trial before a new judge.

Again, the wheels of justice turned excruciatingly slow. Over the course of more than three years, the case was set for trial on six separate occasions, only to be continued for some reason outside of the family’s control. Ultimately, the case began trial on November 21, 2013.

In the six years that had passed, one of the defendants in the first trial had gone bankrupt, so the only defendant at trial was Crown, Cork & Seal Company. Mr. Saller testified that he was exposed to dust from asbestos pipe covering insulation made by the company’s predecessor, Mundet, while working at the Standard Oil refinery in El Segundo from 1959 to 1966.

The Saller family was represented at trial by attorney Scott Frost who deftly presented evidence establishing the asbestos content of the products, the manner in which the toxic dust from the products was inhaled by Mr. Saller and other workers at the refinery, the company’s knowledge of the hazards of their asbestos products and their failure to provide warnings to Mr. Saller and others so that they could have avoided the deadly effects of their products.

At the trial, the videotapes of Mr. Saller’s deposition were shown, again revealing his relentless fight to present the evidence of his case as his disease unmercifully progressed. For the family, the trial took them back seven years, re-opening the emotional wounds that they had tried so hard to heal. But for each one of them, all of this was secondary.

“There’s no way we’re giving up,” said Mrs. Saller. “He kept going because of us. Now it’s our turn to keep going for him.”

On December 13, 2013, over eight and-a-half years after Mr. Saller’s diagnosis, the family finally got their first taste of justice. The jury in the case returned a verdict of $5,016,000 for which Crown, Cork & Seal was determined to be 30% responsible. The jury also determined that the company had acted with malice or conscious disregard justifying an award of punitive damages. On December 16, 2013, the jury awarded $3,600,000 in punitive damages against the company.

“I’m shocked, thrilled and relieved,” said Mrs. Saller. “I’m so pleased that he finally got his justice. It’s such a great feeling, like a weight has finally been lifted from our shoulders. My family, our attorneys, we all finished the job. Just like he did. My husband can finally rest in peace.”  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Online Petition Now Available to Establish the “Elmo Zumwalt Mesothelioma Treatment & Research Center” - Please Sign Now!

In our Veteran’s Day "Call to Arms" post, we addressed the Federal Government’s failure to adequately care for veterans diagnosed with service-related mesothelioma, who account for one-third of Americans who get this deadly disease.

In the weeks that have followed, we have sent letters to our friends, clients and clients’ families enlisting their support in the effort to get the VA to fund the “Elmo Zumwalt Mesothelioma Treatment and Research Center” which will provide world-class treatment to veterans around the country and conduct much-needed research into cures and treatment advances that will benefit all persons suffering from this disease, not just vets.

Our thanks go out to everyone who has forwarded the letters to their senators and congresspersons. Additional packets are being sent out as we speak. If you haven’t sent the letters, please do so as soon as possible. If you want additional copies of the letters to have friends of family send, let us know and we’ll send more!

We’re pleased to report that the Pacific Meso Center has now joined the effort to garner much-needed public support for this worthy cause by establishing an online petition to “Help Veterans Stricken with Service-Connected Mesothelioma.”

Even if you have already sent the letters that were issued by our office, we urge you to sign the Pacific Meso Center’s online petition. The Federal government has ignored this problem for decades. We need to do everything we can to let them know what an insult their continued inaction is to the vets who have and will continue to suffer from service-related mesothelioma.

"We encourage everyone to sign this petition and to send it out to their friends and family via email, Twitter and Facebook", said Clare Cameron, Executive Director of The Pacific Meso Center.  "With enough signatures we can make a change and get the Admiral Zumwalt Center for Mesothelioma Excellence funded, and give our veterans suffering with mesothelioma a fighting chance".

So please sign the petition now! It will take you less than a minute.