Asbestos Verdict Upheld by California Court of Appeals, Announces Baron & Budd

LOS ANGELES, May 16 /PRNewswire/ -- On March 11th, eighteen months after winning a $3.9 million wrongful death verdict in Los Angeles Superior Court against Stamford, Conn.-based Crane Co. (NYSE:CR) on behalf of the family of a U.S. Navy veteran who died from his exposure to asbestos, Baron & Budd, P.C. has announced that the verdict was affirmed by the California Court of Appeals.

Attorneys John Langdoc and Renee Melancon from Dallas' Baron & Budd represented the wife and adult children of Joseph Henson Norris, who died in August 2006 from mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The lawsuit itself was unique in that Mr. Norris contracted the disease through "bystander exposure" and Crane Co. was not a manufacturer of asbestos products, but a user of asbestos components.

"John, Renee and our entire trial team have not stopped working to prove, first to the jury, then to the Court of Appeals, how the defendants could have prevented this terrible tragedy," says Russell W. Budd, managing shareholder of Baron & Budd. "The Court ruled unanimously that a company cannot use a dangerous component, then disclaim responsibility for the harm it inflicts on innocent people."

Mr. Norris was exposed to asbestos while working as a gunner's mate in the U.S. Navy from 1955 to 1957. Crane Co., a manufacturer of industrial products with more than 10,000 employees worldwide, previously manufactured valves with asbestos gaskets and asbestos packing materials that were used aboard Mr. Norris' ship, the U.S.S. Bremerton. Crane Co. also sold its own line of asbestos-containing gasket materials from 1920 until 1972.

The dangers of asbestos have been widely known since the early 1900s, but Crane Co. continued to manufacture and sell asbestos-containing products throughout the last century without researching asbestos dangers, testing the products for asbestos hazards, or warning end users, according to Melancon.

"To have exposed our country's selfless military members to this dangerous substance was inexcusable," said Melancon. "On behalf of Mr. Norris and his family, we are proud to have won and upheld the first successful asbestos verdict against Crane Co."

The effects of asbestos exposure, including the onset of diseases like mesothelioma and asbestosis, can take years or even decades to surface. Nearly 50 years passed before Mr. Norris began exhibiting symptoms of mesothelioma. He was diagnosed in April 2005, and lived only 16 months after learning he had the disease.

About Baron & Budd, P.C.

Since 1977, the law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C. has championed the rights of people and communities harmed by corporate misconduct. With more than 80 attorneys and offices in New York, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas and California, Baron & Budd enjoys a national reputation as a leader of the plaintiffs' bar. The firm represents individuals with mesothelioma and other diseases caused by asbestos; leukemia caused by benzene; injuries caused by other toxic substances and unsafe pharmaceuticals; water authorities seeking clean-up costs for drinking water contamination; securities investors defrauded by corporate wrongdoing; and consumers in class actions.

CONTACT: Susan Knape of Baron & Budd, P.C. 214-523-6226

Source: Baron & Budd, P.C.

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