October 28, 2016

On October 21, 2016, following a nearly 10-week trial, Foley & Mansfield's Oakland team received a defense verdict in an alleged occupational exposure case involving cosmetic talc distributed by our client Whittaker, Clark & Daniels.

In Colpitts vs. American International Industries, et al, Los Angeles Superior Court No. BC600850, plaintiffs Linda and Michael Colpitts alleged that Linda Colpitts contracted pleural mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos. Plaintiffs claimed that Ms. Colpitts, a 68 year-old retired hairdresser/cosmetologist, was occupationally exposed to asbestos from a variety of products, including Clubman brand barber talc beginning in 1979.  They also claimed she had bystander and para-occupational exposure to asbestos-containing joint compound products from 1969 to 1973 from her ex-husband, who used the product while working as a flooring installer and in making repairs to the family home.  

Plaintiffs claimed that Whittaker, Clark & Daniels supplied raw talc contaminated with asbestos to Clubman manufacturer Nestle Lemur (American International Industries), and that even though it had been testing for possible contamination, its methods were inadequate.  Whittaker presented evidence at trial that plaintiffs’ claims of contamination were unfounded and that its testing methods were state of the art at the time and continue to be approved by the Federal Food & Drug Administration today. In closing argument, plaintiffs requested the jury award more than $26 million in damages.  After two full days of deliberation, the jury returned a 10-2 verdict in favor of Whittaker. 

Whittaker, Clark & Daniels was represented at this trial by Robert Betette and Sandy Liu of the Oakland office of Foley & Mansfield, PLLP.  Judge Anthony J. Mohr presided. 

Sandy Liu