A part-time construction worker who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos has won a $22 million verdict against Burnham LLC, manufacturer of the boilers primarily responsible for his disease, nationally recognized New York law firm of Belluck & Fox, LLP, announced today.
This was the second Belluck & Fox verdict against Burnham this month. Two weeks ago, the firm’s founding partner Jordan Fox obtained a $6.25 million verdict against Burnham in Sandra Geritano, as Executrix of the Estate of Vincent Geritano v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al. (No. 190374/2014).
Along with another recent verdict in Schenectady County, Belluck and Fox, LLP has obtained over $30 million dollars in verdicts on behalf of asbestos victims in New York in the last month alone.
In a trial before the Honorable Martin Shulman, the jury returned its verdict on June 24th in the Supreme Court of New York, County of New York, in the case of Frank Gondar v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al. (No. 190079/2015). The jury awarded Mr. Gondar $12 million for past pain and suffering and $10 million for future pain and suffering. The jury found Burnham liable because it failed to “exercise reasonable care by not providing an adequate warning” about the hazards of asbestos associated with its boilers, and its failure to warn was a “substantial contributing factor” in causing Mr. Gondar’s mesothelioma. The jury found that Burnham was 25% at fault, with the remaining fault apportioned among various boiler manufacturers, joint compound manufacturers, floor tile manufacturers, and retail stores. But the jury also found that Burnham acted “with reckless disregard for the safety of others,” which under New York law means that Burnham is responsible for the entire verdict, less settlements received by the Plaintiff.
Frank Gondar is a veteran of the US Army, a former member of the New York Police Department, and a retired high school teacher. From 1953 to 1973 he also operated a part-time construction business, Gondar Contracting, in Staten Island, New York where he performed a variety of renovation activities in residential basements, including drywall and floor tile installation. During these years, Mr. Gondar was regularly exposed to extensive levels of asbestos-laden dust from external insulation on boilers manufactured by Burnham, and others, when they were removed from residential basements by other workers in close proximity to Mr. Gondar.
“Frank Gondar has suffered greatly because of Burnham’s reckless behavior. We’re thankful that the jury has held them responsible for their actions, and we’re hopeful that the jury’s verdict provides some measure of justice and comfort to the Gondar family,” said James Long, senior litigator at Belluck & Fox, who led the firm’s trial team during the trial.
In addition to Mr. Long, the Belluck & Fox trial team included partners Bryan Belasky and Seth Dymond, as well as associates John Ryan, Michael Macrides, and Rachel Lanier.
“We are proud to represent victims of asbestos exposure in New York State and throughout the country, ” said Mr. Belasky. “Working families such as Mr. Gondar’s have too often had their lives cut short because of irresponsible companies pursuing profits over safety, and we are honored to win justice for them.”
Asbestos is a mineral that has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly form of cancer which results from breathing in asbestos fibers that become lodged in the thin membrane that lines and encases the lungs.
At trial, lawyers from Belluck & Fox presented evidence from a series of experts on the use of asbestos on and within Burnham boilers, the causation of Mr. Gondar’s mesothelioma, the state-of-the-art evidence relating to the dangers of asbestos, and testimony about the cancer’s impact on Mr. Gondar’s life.
Burnham was represented by Tom Radcliffe from Dehay & Elliston, LLP and Nancy McDonald from McElroy Duetsch Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLC.
Belluck & Fox was founded in 2002 and has been advocating for mesothelioma patients for over 12 years. The attorneys at Belluck & Fox help injured people recover damages resulting from asbestos, unsafe products, mesothelioma, toxic chemicals, construction accidents and serious injuries. Belluck & Fox is listed as one of America’s best law firms by U.S. News & World Report and a number of their attorneys appear in Best Lawyers magazine. Joseph Belluck has obtained an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell (the highest ethical rating for lawyers). Jordan Fox is one of the nation’s top mesothelioma lawyers in the United States and was named “2013 Plaintiff Lawyer of the Year” for the NY metro area by Best Lawyers. He has had two mesothelioma verdicts recognized as among The National Law Journals’ Largest Verdicts of the Year. Belluck & Fox has secured more than $600 million in claims for their clients.