Karen Peterson and Jeffrey Peterson v. Hill Brothers Chemical Corp. (2002) – 20+ MILLION JURY VERDICT (represented a 42 year old plaintiff in one of California’s largest verdicts for 2002 at $20+ million asbestos case). Alameda County Superior Court 2001-031817. This verdict was the largest net asbestos verdict ever awarded to a plaintiff in an asbestos case in California’s history.
On June 4, 2002, after six weeks of trial, an Alameda County Superior Court jury returned a verdict in excess of $20 million for Karen and Jeffrey Peterson. Total responsibility (100%) for plaintiff’s mesothelioma cancer was assessed against Hill Brothers Chemical Company, a southern California chemical company that is based in Orange, California. The jury also found that defendant acted with malice, oppression or fraud, permitting the action to proceed to a punitive damage phase. Defendant settled the action at trial for $19.5 million for a waiver by plaintiffs of punitive damages. Following Karen Peterson’s death in 2002, Ms. Farrise again sued Hill Brothers on behalf of Karen’s husband, Jeffrey Peterson and her 8 year old two twin boys. The wrongful death case was settled with defendant.
Karen Peterson, age 42, was exposed to asbestos as a child in her own family home from products manufactured by defendant Hill Brothers Chemical Company from the time of her birth until she left home at age 18 to attend college. The asbestos-containing cementitious magnesite floor which exposed plaintiff to asbestos is still in place in tens of thousands of homes today. Trial evidence included an estimate of 4 million square feet of the flooring still in place in family homes in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California.