On January 15, 2014 an Alameda County, California jury returned an $11 million verdict in an asbestos wrongful death suit against Pneumo Abex LLC. A prior jury had found that Pneumo Abex’s asbestos-containing brakes were defective, and that Pneumo Abex negligently, intentionally, and maliciously caused Mr. Bankhead’s mesothelioma. Mr. Bankhead died from the disease at age 68. (Emily Bankhead, Tammy Bankhead, and Debbie Bankhead Meiers v. ArvinMeritor, Inc., et al., Case No. RG12632899, Alameda County Superior Court)
This wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Kazan Law on the Bankhead’s behalf to compensate his family for their tragic loss of his companionship for all the years by which his life was cut short. In this second trial, which began January 13, 2014, Pneumo Abex was not allowed to dispute its responsibility for Mr. Bankhead’s death. The jury was not told the reasons for Pneumo Abex’s liability, nor were they told about the circumstances of Mr. Bankhead’s death. The jury was tasked with deciding the full amount of Mr. Bankhead’s widow’s and daughters’ losses due to his wrongful death 17 years before his life expectancy.
Gordon Bankhead worked as a parts man from 1965 to 1999 in the service and repair of heavy duty vehicles. He was regularly involved with the inspection, replacement, grinding, and blowing out of asbestos-containing brakes. All of these activities caused him to breathe deadly asbestos dust. Pneumo Abex manufactured many of the brake linings Mr. Bankhead was exposed to.
Asbestos Wrongful Death Verdict
The jury valued Mr. Bankhead’s wife Emily’s losses at $6 million, and daughters Tammy Bankhead and Debbie Bankhead-Meiers’ losses at $2,500,000 each. “This verdict shows that wrongful death cases are extremely valuable and undervalued by insurers and defendants,” stated Mr. McClain. “The jury returned a reasonable and fair decision that shows how jurors value the loss and love of a parent and family.”
Kazan Law partner David McClain represented the Bankhead family in the wrongful death case.
Prior Mesothelioma Verdict
In the Bankhead’s first mesothelioma trial, the jury awarded Mr. Bankhead $1,470,000 for his past and future economic loss, and $1,500,000 for his pain and suffering. The jury also awarded his wife, Emily Bankhead $1,000,000 for her loss of her husband’s support and companionship. The jury found that Pneumo Abex’s actions were malicious, fraudulent, and/or oppressive and imposed $9,000,000 in punitive damages against the company. Pneumo Abex appealed the verdict, yet it was subsequently upheld.
Mr. and Mrs. Bankhead were represented in their first trial by Kazan Law partners Joseph Satterley and Justin Bosl, and former partner Leigh Kirmsse.