Reading Time: 14 mins
Last Edited On: 04/12/2024

Written by Joe Lahav, EsquireEdited By Walter PachecoLegally Reviewed By Samuel Meirowitz

Filing a Mesothelioma Claim in California

California has long been one of the leading jurisdictions for asbestos lawsuit filings, which include personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits. This state’s laws are generally considered favorable for asbestos lawsuits, leading to yearly increases in new in-state and out-of-state claimants filing.

In response, California courts have taken measures to manage large asbestos caseloads and expedite claims. For example, “fast-track” scheduling allows mesothelioma cases to go to trial within 120 days. Some California judges encourage parties to resolve cases quickly through settlement.

The statute of limitations in California sets a deadline for filing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. A California qualified mesothelioma attorney can determine how these deadlines apply to your specific mesothelioma case.

An attorney can help you file a mesothelioma claim for compensation in California or another state. Look for a nationwide asbestos firm that has a strong record of success in California. In addition to lawsuits, you may qualify to file asbestos trust fund claims.

Asbestos Exposure in California Among Highest in US

California ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths. Medical centers in California reported about 292 mesothelioma cases in 2020, the most recent year this data is available. 

It has the most naturally occurring asbestos of any state in the country. California also led the nation in shipyard asbestos exposure during World War II and after.

During the peak of U.S. asbestos use, many mines and processing plants developed around California’s countless asbestos deposits. Most of these locations closed in the 1990s or early 2000s.

Many veterans have been exposed to asbestos in California shipyards, such as Long Beach Naval Shipyard, and military bases. Veterans who develop asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma may file a VA claim for benefits and have access to VA health care for mesothelioma treatment in California.

California mesothelioma lawyers have helped people in the state get compensation for many types of asbestos exposure. Most cases are based on occupational asbestos exposure or exposure that happened when veterans served in the armed forces.

Survivor Story
D.G. Blackburn Mesothelioma Survivor

Survivor Story

Survivor Story

D.G. said his mesothelioma may have come from asbestos exposure while working on old houses as a carpenter and woodworker. He believes raising awareness can help spare others from asbestos-related diseases. D.G. also enjoys focusing on hobbies like his passion for rare liquors that led to him becoming an official Armagnac brandy ambassador and his knighting in France.

Read D.G.’s Story

California Industries Known for Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure in California has primarily occurred in industrial and commercial sectors. Multiple industries used the mineral because it’s resistant to high heat temperatures and chemical corrosion.

High Asbestos Exposure CA Industries

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Power Generation
  • Shipbuilding

Former construction workers, shipyard workers and veterans are particularly at risk. Children and spouses may also be able to file a lawsuit if they develop mesothelioma because of secondary asbestos exposure.

Courts have also held companies that sell dangerous consumer products liable for mesothelioma claims. Recent cases involve asbestos-contaminated talcum powder.

California Companies That Exposed Workers to Asbestos

Exposure to asbestos in California has primarily taken place at industrial job sites. These include chemical plants, manufacturing plants, power plants, construction sites and shipyards.

California Asbestos Companies
  • American Asbestos Products Co.
  • Atlas Asbestos Mine
  • Atlas Mineral Corp.
  • Boyd Industrial Rubber Co.
  • Calaveras Asbestos Co.
  • Chevron Oil
  • Dickson Safety Products Co.
  • Filler Safety Equipment Co.
  • Great Southern Paper Company
  • Hill Brothers Chemical Co.
  • Jay Fomi, Inc.
  • Johns Manville
  • J.T. Thorpe
  • Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp.
  • Kaiser Shipyard
  • Los Angeles Rubber & Asbestos Works
  • Lynch Asbestos Co.
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Pabco Products, Inc.
  • Phoenix Industries
  • Saint Louis Fire Brick & Insulation Co.
  • San Francisco Naval Shipyard
  • San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station
  • Shell Oil Company
  • Simpson Safety Equipment
  • Texaco, Inc.
  • Todd Shipyards
  • Transcon Mfg. Co.
  • Union Carbide
  • Union Pacific Railway Co.
  • United States Diver Co.
  • Verticel Co.

Some of these companies operated asbestos mines, such as Union Carbide, or processed asbestos ore into usable fibers. Exposure in these settings was extremely high and many workers got sick because they worked directly with raw asbestos.

J.T. Thorpe and other manufacturing plants that incorporated asbestos fibers into products also directly exposed workers to the toxic mineral. Other companies indirectly exposed employees who handled or worked around asbestos-containing materials.

Mesothelioma Law Firms Practicing in California

Lawyers at a national mesothelioma law firm like Weitz & Luxenberg or Simmons Hanly Conroy specialize in asbestos litigation and have offices in California. These California asbestos lawyers understand federal asbestos regulations and the state’s statutes.

CA Cities With Top Asbestos Law Firms
  • Anaheim
  • Bakersfield
  • Fresno
  • Long Beach
  • Los Angeles
  • Oakland
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose

Most nationwide mesothelioma law firms have office locations in California. For example, Weitz & Luxenberg has an office in Los Angeles. Cooney & Conway has several offices in central and Southern California, including Pasadena and San Diego. Simmons Hanly Conroy has offices in San Francisco and El Segundo, California.

Mesothelioma Law Firms Licensed to Practice in California

The best asbestos firms in California have attorneys with the background to explain how California’s laws affect your case. These firms also handle cases throughout the country, which means they can file your claim in another state if your case doesn’t have jurisdiction in California.

Weitz and Luxenburg

Weitz & Luxenberg

1880 Century Park East Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90067
  • $17 Billion Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated #1 by U.S. News & World Report for 2022
Simmons Hanly Conroy Logo

Simmons Hanly Conroy

100 N. Pacific Coast Highway Suite 1350
El Segundo, California 90245
  • $8.9 Billion Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated a Tier 1 Law Firm in 2022 by U.S. News & World Report
meirowitz & wasserberg logo

Meirowitz & Wasserberg

1040 Sixth Avenue 12B
New York, NY 10018
  • $200 Million Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated in the Top 10 Asbestos and Mesothelioma Trial Lawyers
Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman

Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman

11601 Wilshire Boulevard Suite 1900
Los Angeles, CA 90025
  • $600 Million Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • 30+ Years Experience

Californians with asbestos-related diseases should choose a nationwide asbestos law firm for the experience and reach that other firms can’t match. Some top firms may not have offices in the state but have licensed California asbestos attorneys who will travel to you. These firms are sensitive to the health issues related to mesothelioma and won’t ask you to travel.

Ranked 8th

National ranking position of Los Angeles, California for asbestos claim filings in 2022.

Source: KCIC

Nationwide Asbestos Law Firms Outside California

If your exposure to asbestos occurred outside of California, or the company responsible has its headquarters elsewhere, you may need to file a claim in another state. A nationwide law firm can help.

For example, an Illinois court awarded the estate of California resident Bruce Torgerson nearly $41 million in damages after his daughter’s wrongful death claim faced jurisdiction issues in California. Torgerson died of mesothelioma following exposure to asbestos in pipe coverings  John Crane Inc. made.

Nemeroff Law Firm Logo
8226 Douglas Avenue Suite 740
Dallas, TX 75225
  • $500 Million Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated a “Hall of Fame” law firm by The Legal 500
Cooney & Conway Logo
120 N Lasalle Street Suite 3000
Chicago, IL 60602
  • $7 Billion Recovered
  • Serves Clients Nationwide
  • Rated a National Tier 1 Firm by U.S. News & World Report in 2022

Firms that practice nationwide have the knowledge and resources necessary to take on large corporations that acted negligently in exposing you or a loved one to asbestos.

A benefit of choosing a nationwide asbestos law firm is that they’ll come to you if you don’t happen to live near an office. They travel to their clients regularly to conduct depositions and won’t charge you for such travel expenses.

Choosing a California Asbestos Attorney

Choosing the right California asbestos attorney means selecting the most experienced legal representation for your specific type of case. Reputable firms are transparent about their track record in California courts.

Patient Advocates at The Mesothelioma Center, for example, can help match you with the right firm for your individual needs and that have experience handling claims with details like yours. This can include cases from identical job sites or lawsuits involving the same asbestos companies connected to your exposure.

Attorneys at Simmons Hanly Conroy in El Segundo, CA, for example, represented Norris and Lori Morgan following Mr. Morgan’s diagnosis of mesothelioma. The firm secured $15.2 million for the Morgans at trial against J-M Manufacturing.

When Johns-Manville went bankrupt in 1983, the court approved the sale of its asbestos pipe business to J-M Manufacturing and J-M A/C Pipe Corp. These companies remain liable for illnesses from Johns-Manville’s asbestos pipes.

Asbestos Verdicts Awarded to California Workers

These verdicts represent some of the highest compensation awarded at trial, but most mesothelioma lawsuits settle out of court. Asbestos law firms have secured mesothelioma settlements worth more than $1 million for clients.

California Asbestos Verdicts

  • $48 Million: The Los Angeles Superior Court awarded damages to the family of Bobbie Izell in 2012. He was exposed to asbestos in construction products while working as a contractor. Major defendants in the mesothelioma lawsuit included CalPortland, Riverside Cement and Union Carbide.
  • $44.6 Million: A California jury ordered Avon and a forklift manufacturer to pay $52.1 million to mesothelioma patient Rita-Ann Chapman in 2023. A California judge later reduced the award and denied the defendants’ motions for a new trial.
  • $43 Million: Weitz & Luxenburg secured $43 million for a mesothelioma patient in Los Angeles after a jury found Algoma Hardwoods, Inc. responsible for asbestos exposure in 2022.
  • $33 Million: A San Francisco jury decided in favor of Alfred Todak, a former shipyard worker in 2002. He developed mesothelioma from exposure to several asbestos-containing products.
  • $18 Million: A California jury awarded damages to Philip Depoian in a mesothelioma lawsuit against talc supplier Whittaker, Clark & Daniels in 2016. The company sold the asbestos-contaminated talcum powder products used at the barbershop where Depoian’s father worked.
  • $17 Million: Dennis Woodard and his wife were awarded damages in 2008 after they filed a lawsuit in a California court against several manufacturers that sold asbestos-containing products to the U.S. Navy. Woodard developed mesothelioma because of exposure he experienced as a machinist’s mate and electrician’s mate.
  • $13 Million: A California jury ordered Colgate-Palmolive and four other companies to pay damages to Judith Winkel and her husband in 2015. Winkel developed mesothelioma because of asbestos contamination in Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder.
  • $12 Million: A California court rejected defendant appeals of a verdict issued in favor of mesothelioma plaintiff Patricia Schmitz in 2023. She was exposed to asbestos through contaminated talc products made by Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive Corp. and Avon.
  • $11 Million: A Los Angeles jury decided in favor of Alfred Mata and his wife in 2018 in a lawsuit against Liberty Utilities Corp. Mata developed mesothelioma from secondary asbestos exposure. His father had worked with Liberty’s asbestos-containing pipes and brought toxic dust home on his clothes.
  • $11 Million: A California court ordered Asbestos Corporation Limited to pay damages to Joseph Garza and his wifein 2006. Garza developed asbestosis after using the company’s asbestos-containing products to repair ship boilers at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and other shipyards.

After juries issue verdicts, some plaintiffs choose to settle with defendants to avoid a lengthy appeals process. For example, Anthony Hernandez Valadez settled with Johnson & Johnson in November 2023 for an undisclosed amount to halt the defendant’s appeals of an $18.8 million verdict an Oakland, California jury awarded.

The top mesothelioma law firms are also known to secure 6-figure payouts from trust funds for asbestos victims. Certain jurisdictions in California require plaintiffs to disclose trust fund claims when they file a lawsuit. An experienced California asbestos lawyer can offer guidance on what trust funds a patient may be eligible for.

Danielle DiPietro, Patient Advocate

A California patient we connected with a lawyer got compensation, allowing them to buy a home near their children.

Patient Advocate Danielle DiPietro

California Asbestos Laws and Regulations

California’s laws governing asbestos lawsuits and asbestos in the workplace are designed to establish a fair legal system and protect the public. Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, California Code of Civil Procedure and California Civil Code define these laws.

Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations requires employers to take specific steps to ensure proper air quality and document all levels of potential exposure. Title 8 also governs registration and certification of asbestos contractors and consultants.

Key Facts About CA Asbestos Laws

  • A number of state agencies oversee asbestos use, abatement and safety in California, including its Department of Public Health, Air Resources Board and Cal/OSHA’s Asbestos and Carcinogen Unit.
  • A mix of federal and state laws govern California asbestos claims. Over the past few decades, California has enacted new laws, regulations, safety standards and programs aimed at reducing exposure.
  • Anyone who needs to remove asbestos from a building in California should contact a Cal/OSHA-Certified Asbestos Consultant. These consultants are the only professionals in the state qualified to advise on asbestos abatement.

Statutes of limitations and negligence laws also affect asbestos lawsuits in California. They define when a plaintiff can file a claim and who may be held liable.

Experienced law firms know how to navigate the state’s complex laws and regulations to help secure the maximum value of your individual case in California. It’s in your best interest to hire a top mesothelioma attorney to represent you against the companies that caused you or your loved one to develop mesothelioma.

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