Mesothelioma Victim Prevails Against Metalclad

In 2021, a California jury awarded mesothelioma victim Ronald Wilgenbusch and his wife Judith $2.5 million in economic and non-economic damages to be paid by Metalclad and several other companies. When the liability assignments were reapportioned after the trial, Metalclad was made responsible for almost half of the payment. Though the company appealed this decision, the Court of Appeals of California rejected their argument and upheld the trial court’s decision.

asbestos insulation

Exposure to Asbestos Insulation During Navy Service Blamed for Mesothelioma

During the original trial, the jury heard that Mr. Wilgenbusch’s mesothelioma had been caused by exposure to asbestos during the years he served in the U.S. Navy. Evidence was submitted that from 1956 through 1978 he worked around asbestos-containing products onboard the ships, including asbestos insulation sold by Metalclad.

The jury found Metalclad and the other companies named in the mesothelioma victim’s suit liable. They awarded the couple $795,000 in economic damages and $1.75 million in non-economic damages, and originally apportioned just 7 percent of the liability to Metalclad. The Wilgenbusch’s asked the court to adjust the assignment, making Metalclad liable for a greater portion of the damages because of their larger role in the chain of distribution of the asbestos. This raised the company’s responsibility to $1,012,044. The company appealed.

Appeals Court Upholds Apportionment of Mesothelioma Liability

When the Court of Appeals of California reviewed the details of the mesothelioma case, they noted that the jury had been given special instructions regarding liability and apportionment. They wrote, “The record shows that the trial court’s ruling is supported by the language of the verdict, the pertinent instructions, and the evidence.” Despite the company’s argument that the trial court had erred by refusing to limit the noneconomic damages award to the “small percentage of fault” that the jury attributed to Metalclad, the appeals court determined that the trial court’s construction of the special verdict was supported by the law and the evidence. The apportionment of damages was allowed to stand.

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Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger


Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.

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