The defendants did little to dispute evidence that the hazards of working with asbestos were well known.
A Portland jury has awarded $3.96 million to the family of a 66-year-old Army veteran and former insulation worker who died of malignant mesothelioma in September 2011. Mr. Robert J. Golik was exposed to asbestos while working as an insulation helper at Pacific Northwest paper mills operated by Weyerhaeuser Company, Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products (Camas), LLC and Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging, Inc., all named as defendants in the case.
“The defendants did little to dispute our evidence establishing both that when Bob Golik was working at their facilities in 1965, the hazards of working with asbestoswere well known and that the defendants did nothing to warn or protect workers like our client from those hazards,” explained David Bricker, Waters Kraus & Paul partner who served as lead trial counsel on the case. “Just home from service to his country in the Army, Mr. Golik worked for months in those paper mills in clouds of amosite asbestos dust — one of the deadliest types of asbestos known,” Mr. Bricker continued. “Bob Golik had no idea of the hidden risks from asbestos or that the paper mills’ failure to protect him would cause his death decades later.”
The jury awarded Mr. Golik’s family $91,008.70 in economic damages and $3,866,664 in non-economic damages, which were apportioned among his wife, Alice Golik, and his three children, Jennifer, Mary and Joseph. The verdict was handed down on December 18, 2014. The defendants will receive a credit for the amounts already paid in settlement to the Golik family by other companies.
Pleural mesothelioma is an always fatal cancer whose only confirmed cause is asbestos exposure. After his diagnosis in 2011, Mr. Golik’s doctors recommended that the best chance for prolonging his life was an extra pleural pneumonectomy (EPP), an intrusive and painful operation in which surgeons remove the affected lung, the pleura that lines the chest wall, the diaphragm and other tissue. At the age of 66, Mr. Golik died just a few days after the surgery.
Mr. Bricker was joined at trial by R. Walker Humphrey, II with Waters Kraus & Paul’s Dallas office and by Michael Connett, who works with Mr. Bricker in the firm’s Los Angeles office.“This was a hard fought legal battle with several obstacles along the way,” said Mr. Bricker. “We would not have had this success without the help and dedication of Walker [Humphrey] and Michael [Connett]. This verdict was a team effort. I’m just so pleased that we were able to bring justice to the Golik family.”
Bob Golik was an avid outdoorsman who dreamed about the time he would spend hunting and fishing in his retirement years. When he realized that mesothelioma would prevent that dream from becoming a reality, Mr. Golik found solace in his family and his faith. The true patriarch of his family, Mr. Golik was very close to his wife Alice, his three children, Jennifer, Mary and Joseph and his two grandchildren. He remained a devout Catholic throughout his life and was quite proud of his son, Joseph, who is now in seminary and his younger daughter, Mary, who will soon be entering a convent.
“I could not be more proud of the result that our attorneys achieved in this case,” said Peter Kraus, a founding partner of Waters Kraus & Paul. “More than that, however,” Mr. Kraus continued, “I’m just delighted for the Golik family. I know how much they miss having Bob to turn to — he was the center of their world and the jury couldn’t help but see that.”
About Waters Kraus & Paul
Waters Kraus & Paul is a national plaintiffs’ law firm devoted to helping families in personal injury and wrongful death cases involving asbestos, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and birth defects and other injuries caused by toxic chemical exposure and semiconductor chip manufacturing. We also represent plaintiffs in qui tam whistleblower matters. Our attorneys have won record-setting verdicts, negotiated monumental settlements, and established ground-breaking new law in cases involving toxic exposure and defective products. Based in Dallas, Texas, with offices in California and Maryland, Waters Kraus & Paul has participated in the representation of families from all fifty states and many foreign countries, as well as foreign governments.
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