Oil refinery employee who worked in Iran is diagnosed with mesothelioma. $25M. Los Angeles County.


Plaintiffs say safety precautions with asbestos were not followed in Iran.

The Case

  • Case Name: Sabetian v. Fluor Enterprises, Inc., et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BCC 699945
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, March 14, 2019
  • Type of Case: Asbestos
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Rupert Byrdsong
  • Plaintiffs:
    Houshang Sabetian, 85.
    Soraya Sabetian, 74.
  • Defendants:
    Fluor Enterprises Inc.
    Middle East Fluor
    Brand Insulations, Inc.
    Parsons Government Services Inc
    Fluor Corporation
    Fluor International
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $25,000,000
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: Fluor Enterprises inc: 60%; Middle East Fluor: 20%; National Iranian Oil Company (non-defendant): 20%.
  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past for Houshang: $6,000,000

    Past for Soraya: $3,000,000

    Future for Houshang: $8,000,000

    Future for Soraya: $8,000,000

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. by Benno Ashrafi and Leonard Sandoval, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Berkes Crane Robinson & Seal  by Robert Berkes and Carmen Santana, Los Angeles. (For all the Fluor entities.)

    Hugo Parker by James Parker and Thomas Remillard. (For Brand Insulations.)

    Foley & Mansfield by Douglas Wah and Beth Hopwood. (For Parsons Governmental Services.)

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Barry Horn, M.D., pulmonology, Oakland.

    David Zhang, M.D., New York, NY.

    Kenneth Garza, Dalllas, TX.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Richard Attanoos, M.D., Wales, UK.

    Dominik Alexander, Ph.D., epidemiology, MI.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff Houshang Sabetian was employed by the National Iranian Oil Company between approximately 1960 and 1979. He was employed in the Organization of Methods and Systems department. In that capacity, he worked at various oil refineries and industrial sites in Iran.

    Houshang Sabetian moved to Los Angeles in 1981 where he has since resided along with his wife (Soraya Sabetian) of over 50 years.

    In January of 2017, Houshang Sabetian was diagnosed with testicular mesothelioma.

    Various Fluor defendants designed and built oil refineries in Iran including the Tehran Refinery, the Tehran Expansion Refinery, and the Esfahan Refinery. They also designed and built various units in the Abadan Refinery.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendants used asbestos products, including asbestos pipe-insulation, in Iran without taking the necessary precautions. That defendants were taking strict safety precautions in the United States that they did not employ in Iran. Further, that defendants were using asbestos insulation in Iran after its use had been banned in the United States.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That: 1) Plaintiff’s cancer is not related to asbestos, it is a spontaneous cancer; 2) Even if plaintiff’s cancer is related to asbestos, defendants did not expose plaintiff to asbestos.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Testicular mesothelioma.

  • Loss of consortium.

Demands and Offers

  • Defendant §998 Offer: $0