An Oakland, California jury found RSCC Wire & Cable, manufacturer of Rockbestos asbestos insulated wire and cable products, guilty by failing to adequately warn consumers and customers of the dangers its wire products posed, its negligence, and its malicious and oppressive misconduct. (Ronald Merrill Ricker and Suzanna Ricker v. RSCC Wire & Cable, Inc., Alameda County Superior Court No. RG10496251)
On November 18, 2010, an Oakland jury returned a verdict for the Rickers of $5,482,047.54 against defendant RSCC Wire & Cable, Inc. (“RSCC”), the manufacturer and supplier of Rockbestos asbestos insulated wire and cable products. The jury also found that RSCC acted with malice and oppression, requiring an additional phase of the trial to determine a punitive damages amount. Shortly after the second phase of the trial started, the case was resolved to the parties’ mutual satisfaction.
Ronald Ricker was exposed to asbestos from Rockbestos asbestos insulated wire products from 1966 to 1971 brought home on the clothing, person, and personal effects of his mother, Clara Ricker, when she worked at Varian, Inc. in Napa and Walnut Creek, California, and from his own employment as a machinist at Varian, Inc. in Walnut Creek, California from 1969 to 1971. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2009. Kazan Law filed suit for the Rickers on January 29, 2010 and trial began on October 25, 2010.
Evidence at trial showed that cutting and stripping RSCC’s Rockbestos asbestos insulated wire products released dangerous levels of asbestos dust and that it was a cause of Mr. Ricker’s mesothelioma. The evidence also showed that RSCC specialized in asbestos insulated wire and cable products, and even incorporated the word “asbestos” in the name of its brand “Rockbestos,” but ignored all the medical and scientific information about the health hazards associated with asbestos dust for over 60 years.
RSCC continued to sell its Rockbestos asbestos insulated wire products until 1986 and did not warn its customers or end users about asbestos related health hazards until 1979. The jury found that RSCC’s defective design of its asbestos insulated wire products, its failure to adequately warn consumers and customers of the dangers its wire products posed, its negligence, and its malicious and oppressive misconduct all contributed to causing Mr. Ricker’s mesothelioma, and was 33 percent responsible for all the damages caused by Mr. Ricker’s mesothelioma.
Kazan Law associates William Ruiz and Ian Rivamonte, with the assistance of firm principals Gordon Greenwood and Frank Fernandez, represented Ronald and Suzanna Ricker at trial.