Brewer v. Alfa Laval, Inc. et. al.

Case Summary

67-year-old Chief Y. R. Brewer served as a Navy machinist mate performing heavy maintenance in the forward engine room aboard the USS Preble during a 41-month period in the early 1960s. The components of the pumps and valves he worked on contained asbestos, and he sharply recalled the manufacturers’ names on the equipment. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June 2007. The jury found that his exposure to asbestos aboard the USS Preble was the cause, and held a number of manufacturers of the asbestos-containing equipment liable for his illness. The defense argued unsuccessfully that the U.S. Navy alone, as a “sophisticated user” of such equipment and components, bore full responsibility for warning and protecting its sailors from asbestos hazards.


May 16, 2008
$9.7M award:
$0.7M economic damages;
$5.0M to Chief Y. R. Brewer for pain and suffering
$4.0M to Gale Brewer for loss of consortium
Remaining defendant at verdict (Crane Co.) assigned 2% liability


One of few Navy-only asbestos exposure cases taken to verdict

Case Information

Cause No. BC 374 988
Brewer v. Alfa Laval, Inc., et. al.
Trial lenght 8 weeks; jury deliberation 3 days


Los Angeles County Superior Court, Dept. 89
Hon. William MacLaughlin, presiding

Plaintiffs’ Experts (live testimony)

Carl Andrew Brodkin, M.D., occupational medicine
Capt. Frank Burger (U.S. Navy, ret.), Navy expert
David Fractor, Ph.D., economist
Susan Raterman, CIH, industrial hygienist

Defense Experts (live testimony)

Samuel Forman, M.D., occupational medicine
Cmdr. James Delaney (U.S. Navy, ret.), Navy expert
Adm. David P. Sargeant, Jr. (U.S. Navy, ret.), Navy expert
Fred Boelter, CIH, industrial hygienist

Plaintiff’s Counsel

Waters Kraus & Paul, LLP (Dallas, Los Angeles)
Scott Frost (lead trial counsel)
Kenneth A. Lee

Williams Kherkher (Houston)
Troy Chandler

Defense Counsel

(Crane Co.) K&L Gates (Dallas, Los Angeles)
James A. Lowery III
James K. Lee

Disclaimer: Results obtained depend on the facts of each case. Award amounts are not actual cash amounts received by plaintiffs. Deductions are made for liens, attorney fees and expenses.

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