Maritime Law Applied, Summary Judgment Granted in Illinois Federal Court for OTGB

In the case John Bell v. ABB Group, Inc., Honorable Staci M. Yandle, District Judge, granted OTGB client’s Motion for Summary Judgment.  After considering and agreeing that Maritime law applied, the Court ruled that Plaintiff could not create a genuine issue of  material fact by mere speculation or the building of inference on inference.  Instead, inferences must be supported by facts in the record, not by speculation or conjecture. See below links Full Decision and Harris Martin for more information.  O’Connell, Tivin, Griffin & Burns, LLC attorneys Sean P. Fergus and Caroline Olson represented our client. Congrats!

Full Decision   Harris Martin Link

Carly Olson 2012         Sean

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

OTGB wins the first asbestos case tried before Federal Judge Staci Yandle in the Southern District of Illinois

After nearly two weeks of trial, the jury in the ANDREW KOCHERA case returned a defense verdict for O’Connell, Tivin, Griffin & Burns, LLC.’s client in Federal court.

Congratulations to Daniel Griffin, Sean Fergus and Simon Purnell of OTGB who successfully defended our client.  Mr. Kochera claimed to have developed asbestosis from his work with our client’s insulation, cement and packings while in the U.S. Navy and aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1950s. His work included installation and removal of packing, mixing cement, applying insulation and sweeping up asbestos containing debris. Plaintiff asked the jury to award $5 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.  The jury of 8 deliberated for less than two hours and found our client not liable.

The case was tried before Honorable Staci M. Yandle in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois located in Benton, Illinois.  Mr. Kochera’s case was originally filed in Madison County, Illinois but was removed to Federal court by a co-defendant.  Our client was the only defendant remaining in the case at the time of trial.

Plaintiffs called Dr. Rosner, Dr. Vuskovich and Jerome Spear, CIH as expert witnesses in their case.

Our client called Dr. Crapo, Dr. Madl and Captain McCloskey.

Plaintiff was represented by Ben Vinson, Jr. of the Vinson Law Firm in Tampa, Florida and Clay Zelbst of the Sloan, Bagley, Hatcher & Perry Firm in Longview, Texas.GriffinSean

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Defense Wins! OTGB Obtains Defense Verdict Against Simon Greenstone.

Mark Tivin and Simon Purnell of O’Connell, Tivin, Griffin & Burns, LLC with local counsel, James Elliott of Richardson Plowden, obtained a defense verdict in the Dennis Seay, mesothelioma case.  The case was tried in the South Carolina 7th Judicial Circuit Court for Spartanburg County in South Carolina.  The case was tried before Honorable D. Garrison Hill.  The plaintiff claimed to have developed mesothelioma and died at the age of 70 from his work at Hoechst-Celanese which included exposure to our client’s gaskets for 10 years. This included using a power wire brush to remove gaskets from flange faces.

Plaintiff called Drs. Brody, Kradin and Holstein as expert witnesses.  OTGB called Drs. Toca, Crapo and Roggli.  After deliberating for several hours, the jury found our client not liable.  The jury did award $12,000,000 in compensatory damages to Plaintiff and found Hoechst-Celanese liable for the full amount. The jury also awarded $2,000,000 in punitive damages against Hoechst-Celanese.

Plaintiff was represented by Mr. Christopher Panatier from Simon Greenstone.

Hoechst-Celanese was represented by H. Lane Young II of Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP in Atlanta.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

OTGB Secures Yet Another Defense Verdict in Two Baltimore Mesothelioma Cases

Despite sitting through almost three weeks of trial, the jury only needed twenty minutes to return TWO DEFENSE VERDICTS in a consolidated trial for OTGB’s client in Baltimore, Maryland.  Baltimore, Maryland is notorious for being Plaintiff friendly and this is only the third asbestos defense verdict over the past few years.

The Estates of Waldon Edwards and Walter Koepper, both diagnosed with mesothelioma, consolidated their cases and were tried in front of Honorable Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill.

The Estate of Waldon Edwards alleged that his  death was caused by exposure to our client’s gaskets, packing and rope from his work as a mechanical helper at Bethlehem Steel, Sparrows Point in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Estate of Walter Koepper alleged that his death was caused by exposure to gaskets, packing and rope from his work as a machinist at the Lever Brothers Plant in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1960s through the 1980s.

Plaintiffs called as expert witnesses Dr. Arthur Frank, Dr. Arnold Brody, Dr. Jerrold Abraham, Dr. John Maddox, William Longo, Dr. Jerry Lauderdale, David Rosner, Dr. James Millette and Dr. Christine Oliver.  Our client called as its witnesses Dr. Amy Madl, Dr. James Crapo and Dr. Fred Toca.

The attorneys for the plaintiffs were from the Peter Angelos Firm. Trial attorneys from OTGB were Dan Griffin, Tom Burns and Alex Hryhorczuk along with local counsel from Miles & Stockbridge including Michael Brown and Deborah St. Lawrence-Thompson.

Congratulations to all. Another great win for the defense.

Follow this link to read more.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meredith Hudgens selected as Emerging Lawyer


Firm Member Meredith Hudgens was recently selected as an “Emerging Lawyer” in the field of Environmental Law and Toxic Tort Defense Law by the Daily Law Bulletin. This selection was made by Meredith’s peers in this field. O’Connell, Tivin, Griffin and Burns is pleased to congratulate Meredith!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

William Swallow Achieves the Rank of Partner

O’Connell, Tivin, Griffin & Burns, L.L.C. is pleased to announce that William Swallow has achieved the rank of partner.  Bill started with the firm in October of 2010 as an associate.  In 2014 he was promoted to senior associate.  Bill handles asbestos matters for both national and local jurisdiction clients and is a trial lawyer.  Bill and his wife also just recently added a new baby girl into their family.  Congrats Bill!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Benjamin J. Pucci Elevated to Equity Member

O’Connell, Tivin, Griffin & Burns, L.L.C. has elevated Benjamin J. Pucci to equity member. Ben started with the firm as an associate in 2006.  Throughout his time with the firm, he achieved the ranks of senior associate and non-equity member.  Ben handles various asbestos matters for both national and local jurisdiction clients.  Ben is also a trial attorney.  Congrats to Ben!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meredith Hudgens Selected as Super Lawyer, Rising Star

Meredith Hudgens has been selected as a Super Lawyer, Rising Star in the state of Illinois. Super Lawyers is a patented rating service of exceptional attorneys who have achieved a high degree of professional achievement as well as recognition from their peers. In particular, Rising Star Super Lawyers are attorneys who are either under the age of 40 or have been practicing for 10 years or less.

Ms. Hudgens was selected through independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. The firm congratulates her for this worthy distinction.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Defense Verdict in Plaintiff-friendly Florida for OTGB

Tom Ben

O’Connell, Tivin, Griffin & Burns, L.L.C. achieved a MAJOR defense verdict in plaintiff-friendly Florida on September 29, 2014. The case was before Honorable Kenneth A. Marra.  The plaintiff, William Hays, at 67 years old died of mesothelioma. Our client was the sole defendant at trial.  He alleged exposure to our client’s gasket and packing products from 1959 through 1981 on board ship in the U.S Navy.  In addition to Mr. Hays’ videotaped testimony, Plaintiff called cellular biologist Arnold Brody, medical doctor Dr. Jerald Abraham and shipmate/commanding officer Commander Weaver.  The defense called industrial hygienist Dr. Fred Toca and medical doctor Dr. James Crapo.

The case went to the jury on two theories: strict liability and negligence.  The jury returned a defense verdict on both counts in 65 minutes.  The case was tried by O’Connell, Tivin, Griffin & Burns, L.L.C.’s Tom Burns with assistance from Ben Pucci of O’Connell, Tivin, Griffin & Burns, L.L.C. and Mike Holt of Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell as local counsel. This win marks O’Connell, Tivin, Griffin & Burns, L.L.C’s fifth defense verdict in a row.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another Defense Verdict for OTGB!

This just in….another Defense Verdict for OTGB. This time Tom Burns and Ben Pucci worked together to obtain the great verdict in Florida for our client. More details to follow soon! But for now, CONGRATS TOM AND BEN!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment