Factory worker gets Mesothelioma, blames a contractor. $3M. Los Angeles County.


Plaintiff says a contractor that regularly worked on mechanical systems in a Masonite plant failed to take proper precautions with asbestos.

The Case

  • Case Name: Groves v. D.W. Nicholson Corporation
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC696433
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, April 15, 2019
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, March 05, 2018
  • Type of Case: Asbestos
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Valerie Salkin
  • Plaintiffs:
    Ervan Groves, 80
    Jo Ann Groves
  • Defendants:
    D.W. Nicholson Corporation
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $3,000,429
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 20% to D.W. Nicholson Corp.; 70% fault to Masonite (non-defendant), and 10% to J.T. Thorpe and Son (resolved the case prior to verdict).
  • Economic Damages:

    Past: $555,429.54

    Future medical: $300,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $545,000

    Future: $800,000

    Loss of consortium: $800,000

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. by Venus Burns and Michael Reid,  Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Foley & Mansfield by Khaled Taqi-Eddin and Arturo Sandoval, Walnut Creek.

    Foley & Mansfield by Thomas Scully, Los Angeles.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    James Dahlgren, M.D., toxic chemicals, Mountain View.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Barry Castleman, environmental factors, MD.

    Kenneth Garza, industrial hygiene, San Antonio, TX.

    Charles Ay, asbestos/insulation, Trabuco Canyon.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Joel Cohen, industrial hygiene, San Mateo.

    Kenneth Mundt, epidemiology, Boston, MA.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Ervan Groves worked for Masonite Corporation in Ukiah, CA from 1964 to 1999. Masonite made wooden siding and doors primarily. Ervan Groves worked in the plate and wire department. He was also a laborer throughout the facility.

    D.W. Nicholson was a contractor that performed over 100 jobs at Masonite during the course of Ervan Groves’ career.   The company installed mechanical, electrical and piping equipment.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That D.W. Nicholson, through the course of their work, exposed Masonite employees, including Ervan Groves, to asbestos by not taking the appropriate safety and protective measures. That the asbestos exposure contributed to Mr. Groves’ terminal cancer.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    D.W. Nicholson contended they did not work with asbestos. 

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Development of mesothelioma.

  • Loss of consortium.