Panza, et al v. Kelsey-Hayes

Case Fact Sheet

Jury rules in favor of the plaintiff in this take-home, bystander asbestos exposure case. Household chores and hanging out with dad led to professor’s mesothelioma.

Case Summary

Ohio jury awards 40-year-old English professor and musician, John Panza, Jr. and his wife $27,515,000 in an asbestos lawsuit. The jury assigned the lone defendant at trial, Kelsey-Hayes Company, successor to National Friction Products Corp., 60% liability. Mr. Panza was exposed to asbestos dust that his father, John Panza, Sr., brought home on his clothing from working at, Eaton Airflex. Mr. Panza, Sr. worked in the receiving and shipping department and was a frequent bystander to other employees who drilled and abraded National Friction products. As a child Mr. Panza and his father were very close and spent much of their time together. Mr. Panza was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2012. He and his wife have a young daughter and will be unable to have any more children because of Mr. Panza’s asbestos cancer and treatments.


December 18, 2013
$27,515,000 total award:
$515,000 economic damages
$12M non-economic damages
$15M loss of consortium
Liability: Kelsey Hayes 60%


Verdict in a case of a 40-year-old victim of take home asbestos exposure through father’s bystander exposure at work.

Case Information

Cause No. CV-12-789009 Panza v. Kelsey-Hayes Company, et al
Trial length: 11 days Deliberation Length: 4.5 hours


Court of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Hon. Harry A. Hanna, presiding

Plaintiffs Experts

Susan Raterman, CIH, Industrial Hygienist (live testimony)
John C. Maddox, M.D., Pathologist (video testimony)
Arnold R. Brody, M.D., General Medicine (live testimony)

Defense Experts (live testimony)

Tim D. Oury, M.D., Pathologist
James O. Rasmuson, Ph.D., CIH, Industrial Hygienist
James Crapo, M.D., Internal Medicine
David Garabrant, M.D., Epidemiologist

Plaintiffs’ Counsel

Waters Kraus & Paul – Los Angeles, Baltimore, Dallas
Gary M. Paul (lead trial counsel), Demetrios Zacharopoulos, Thomas Kniest
The Mismas Law Firm – Cleveland
John Mismas (local counsel)

Defense Counsel

BakerHostetler, Cleveland, Denver
Wade A. Mitchell, Edward D. Papp, Mary Price Birk

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

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