Gilbert v. Alcoa, Inc.

Case Summary

Freeman Gilbert died of mesothelioma at the age of 75. He worked with and around asbestos containing products in the pot rooms, the casting department and storerooms at the Alcoa Plant in Badin, North Carolina from 1946 to 1983. Shannon Gilbert, Mr. Gilbert’s son, brought his father’s wrongful death case against Defendant Alcoa, Inc., to trial in 1999. The case was tried based upon forum non conveniens because the injury was caused in North Carolina even though Freeman Gilbert lived in Texas when his case was originally filed. Under North Carolina law, an employee cannot sue his employer because of workers’ compensation. However, verdict was awarded to Mr. Gilbert’s case based on North Carolina’s “Woodson” claim. Which says that the Defendant intentionally engaged in conduct substantially certain to cause death or serious bodily injury to its employees. Additionally, the jury felt that the defendant was negligent, saying Alcoa was willful and wanton in their acts.


February 8, 1999
$5.0 Million


First latent disease verdict for a plaintiff under the Woodson claim.

Case Information

Shannon Gilbert, Individually and as a representative of the estate of Freeman Gilbert v. Alcoa, Inc.
Cause No. 25743


Milam County, Texas, 20th Judicial District
Hon. Charles Lance, presiding

Plaintiffs’ Experts

Dr. Victor Roggli, pathologist
Howard Cole, industrial hygienist, state of the art and OSHA regulations expert

Defense Experts

Larry Birkner, industrial hygienist, state of the art

Plaintiffs’ Counsel

Waters Kraus & Paul, Dallas, Texas
C. Andrew Waters
Jill Kuswa
George Bready

Defense Counsel

Black and Connelly in Austin, Texas (Alcoa, Inc.)
Larry Black

Lebouf, Lamb, Greene and MacRaw, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Alcoa, Inc.)
William Conley, Ann Rice

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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