Auto mechanic worked on brakes, dies of mesothelioma. $10.9 million gross verdict. Fresno County.


Plaintiffs' decedent worked on brakes as an auto mechanic, and also worked as a plumber.  He was exposed to asbestos in both jobs.  Punitive damages against defendant Honeywell (Bendix). Very low section 998 settlement offer by defendant.

The Case

  • Case Name: Phillips v. Honeywell International, Inc. et al
  • Court and Case Number: Fresno Superior Court / 12CECG04055
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
  • Date Action was Filed: Thursday, May 30, 2013
  • Type of Case: Asbestos, Products Liability
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Jeffrey Y. Hamilton
  • Plaintiffs:
    Charity Phillips; the estate of James Lester Phillips; Jaycee Smith; Michael Phillips; JT Phillips
  • Defendants:
    Honeywell (Bendix)
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $10,938,500.
  • Net Verdict or Award: TBD
  • Settlement Amount: N/A
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    30% fault on Honeywell (Bendix)

  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Punitive Damages:

    $3,500,000.  The jury found that Honeywell (Bendix) had displayed a conscious disregard for the rights and safety of others and made a punitive finding to punish and deter Honeywell.

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 1 month
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 5 1/2 days

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Simon Greenstone Panatier & Bartlett by Stuart J. Purdy and Robert A. Green, Long Beach.

    Co-counsel with Worthington & Caron, P.C., San Pedro.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Thompson & Knight by Joseph Pevsner, Dallas, TX.
    Perkins Coie by Brien McMahon, San Francisco.


The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Carl A. Brodkin, M.D., occupational and environmental health physician, Seattle, WA.
    Eugene J. Mark, M.D., pathologist, Boston, MA.
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Richard Attanoos, pulmonary pathology, Cardiff, Wales.
    David Weill, M.D., pulmonary specialist, Stanford.
    Patrick Hessel, epidemiology.
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    Lawrence Radlinski, engineering.
    Kenneth White, industrial hygienist.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    James Phillips worked with cars his entire life. He was exposed to asbestos when installing, removing, and replacing brakes while employed in Mariposa, CA at various garages and on his personal vehicles over the course of many years. He also worked for several years as a plumber.

    He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February 2012 and passed away one year later on February 17, 2013 at the age of 59. 

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That asbestos in brakes does not cause mesothelioma.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Wrongful Death damages.

Demands and Offers

  • Defendant §998 Offer: $22,500