Virginia: Wrongful Death – a Lawyer’s Asbestos

Virginia: Wrongful Death – a Lawyer’s Asbestos

John Crane, Inc. v. Hardick, No. 101909 (Va. Mar. 2, 2012) is a wrongful death case under maritime law handled by Mr. Waterman’s law firm. That asbestos case appeal addressed 3 points.

First, Hardick held “the trial court erred by allowing the jury to award Mrs. Hardick non-pecuniary damages for the wrongful death of Hardick, a seaman.” Id. at 31. Specifically, the Virginia Supreme Court found plaintiff not entitled to “the $2 million award for Hardick’s pain and suffering and the $1.15 million award for Mrs. Hardick’s loss of society” under maritime law. Id. at 11-25.

Second, Hardick held defendant “waived part of its second assignment of error by failing to include any ‘argument’ or ‘authorities’ relating to the admissibility of Mrs. Hardick’s evidence regarding asbestos exposing from gasket removal in violation of Rule 5:27”. Id. at 31-32. In its wrongful death appeal, defendant assigned error to the “introduction” of such evidence, but instead fatally briefed error on the “sufficiency” of evidence. Id. at 25-26.

Third, Hardick held “the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it excluded Hewitt’s testimony” related to the United States Navy from the wrongful death trial.Id. at 32. “In this case, the trial court found that Hewitt’s testimony and the documents upon which his testimony would have been based were irrelevant and speculative because Hewitt could tie neither the documents at issue nor any of his personal experience directly to Hardick.” Id. at 26-31.

Notably, Mr. Waterman’s firm has filed for rehearing on 1 point of the Hardick wrongful death opinion. Plaintiff argues that even if the deceased is a “seaman,” under the Jones Act she was entitled to maintain her survival claim for the deceased’s pre-death pain and suffering for which the jury awarded $2,000,000.00.