After a 9-week trial, a 12-0 verdict was returned by a jury in Santa Barbara favoring the defense in a case that involved claims of economic damages and bodily injuries in connection with asbestos exposure. The defendants were represented by Uyen Nguyen and Victoria Ersoff of Wood Smith Henning and Berman LLP.
Plaintiffs William Budke, Inger Budke and their children filed lawsuit against Santa Barbara Housing Authority, its Chief Executive Officer, Deputy Executive Officer, and Property and Development Director over bodily injuries, property damage, economic losses, emotional distress and loss of consortium relating to exposure to asbestos and mold in a housing community.
Inger Budke was employed as Resident Coordinator at various apartments that the defendants owned. Budke resided there with family. The plaintiffs alleged that defendant companies failed to remediate the conditions in the apt. which made it uninhabitable. The defendants didn’t properly train the maintenance workers about the remediation and identification of asbestos and mold, the suit states. The companies violated asbestos safety regulations during their remediation and maintenance works all through their properties, according to the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs also alleged that health conditions became poor as they had to reside in an apartment that was not at all fit to live in. According to the plaintiffs, their daughters are suffering from severe allergies and asthma. The youngest daughter of the plaintiffs had severe birth injuries such as neuro-behavioral and neuro-cognitive deficits because of the dangerous conditions in their apartment, the lawsuit states.
After deliberating nearly a day, the jury decided to return a verdict in favor of the defense. They found Inger Budke, one of the plaintiffs, to be causally negligent.
Before the trial, the defendants served offers to negotiate on all the plaintiffs totaling US$54000. However, plaintiffs counsel informed the jury that she’d be asking millions of dollars in punitive and compensatory damages. Now the defendant companies can recover from claimants their lawyers’ fees and costs.
Anybody who suffers from asbestos-related health problems has the legal right to sue the responsible companies and win compensation from them. However, the plaintiff should convincingly prove that the defendant companies are really responsible for the asbestos exposure that resulted in his/her health problems. Therefore, the service of an efficient and expert attorney is vital in any case relating to health problems caused by occupational asbestos exposure.