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Significant Defense Result Obtained
On November 4, 2011, Gunty & McCarthy obtained a significant defense result in a Cook County asbestos personal injury case. The plaintiff brought a complaint seeking wrongful death and survival claims against a supplier of asbestos-containing dental tape as well as other companies in the dental products field. The plaintiff claimed that her husband, a dentist, died from mesothelioma. She alleged he had been exposed to asbestos intermittently for about 10 years from the use of our client’s asbestos-containing dental liners in his practice. We successfully demonstrated to the jury that the decedent, a Korean War veteran, had sustained enough asbestos exposure in the Navy to have caused his disease long before he took up dentistry and that any subsequent exposure to asbestos during this dentistry career was de minimis at best. More importantly, defense counsel convinced eight of the twelve jurors that it had not breached any duty owed to the decedent and furthermore proved that it was ahead of the state-of-the-art regarding the product at issue. The trial ended in a hung jury with several jurors unable to compromise by signing any verdict form that attributed fault to our client. A few of the remaining four jurors wanted only to award medical specials to the plaintiff but some of the other eight jurors refused to sign off on that in order to avoid sending the message to the defendant that it did anything wrong.