Cundiff vs. Alfa Laval, et. al.

Case Summary

65-year-old Charles H. Cundiff was a machinist’s mate in the U.S. Navy who participated in two overhauls of the USS Kitty Hawk during 1962-1966. Except for a 2-week leave, he remained on ship around the clock. His work involved cleaning, repairing and replacing various valves, pumps and component parts in the Nos. 2 and 4 engine rooms, where he breathed massive amounts of asbestos particles without protection. He sharply recalled product types and the brand names stamped in the components, as well as the delivery and widespread use of Insulag, an insulation product supplied by Pioneer Sand & Gravel (predecessor to Lone Star). Diagnosed with mesothelioma in March 2008, plaintiff was too ill to testify live. His testimony was presented via deposition.


May 6, 2009
$12.006M total award: $506,000 in economic damages; $10.0M for pain and suffering; $1.5M for loss of consortium
Lone Star Industries, Inc. assessed 19% liability; John Crane, Inc. 5%; M. Slayen and Associates, Inc., 0%


Plaintiff’s verdict in U.S Navy case
Jury found manufacturer and supplier liable for both defective product design and failure to warn – the first-known such verdict post-Taylor

Case Information

Cause No. BC 390398 Cundiff vs. Alfa Laval, et. al.
Trial length: 7 weeks Deliberation length: 5 days


Los Angeles County, Calif., Superior Court, Dept. 38
Hon. Maureen Duffy-Lewis, presiding

Plaintiff’s Experts (live testimony)

Arnold Brody, Ph.D., cell biologist
CAPT Arnold Moore, (U.S. Navy, Ret.), Navy/marine engineering expert
Edwin Holstein, M.D., occupational medicine
William Salyer, M.D., surgical pathologist
David Fractor, Ph.D., economist

Defense Experts (live testimony)

CDR James Delaney (U.S. Navy, Ret.), Navy expert
ADM Roger Horne (U.S. Navy, Ret.), Navy expert
James Crapo, M.D., pulmonologist
Thomas McCaffrey, B.S., M.B.A., Naval/maritime historian
John Graham,B.S., engineering and ship design
Charles Weaver, Ph.D., psychologist

Plaintiff’s Counsel

Waters Kraus & Paul (LA): Gary M. Paul (lead); Marc Willick; Jillian Rice

Defense Counsel

John Crane, Inc. – Hassard Bonnington (San Fran): Robert Nelder
Lone Star – Jackson & Wallace: Allan Gutsche (San Fran); Jessica Stepp (Sherman Oaks)
M. Slayen – Becherer, Kannet & Schweitzer (Emeryville): Patrick Becherer, Constance Fraenkel

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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