Children of Mesothelioma Victim Win Court Ruling in Pep Boys Asbestos Case

When the family of J.D. Williams filed a lawsuit in California seeking compensation for his illness and subsequent death from malignant mesothelioma, the San Francisco County Superior Court made a controversial decision about the compensation that they were owed by Pep Boys after exposing their father to asbestos through asbestos-contaminated brake systems. Though the Superior Court had granted Pep Boys’ motion for judgment on the family’s wrongful death claim, the appellate court reversed that decision, opening the door for his seven adult children to be compensated for medical expenses that had been left out of the lower court’s rulings.

The original mesothelioma lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles man’s family had named Pep Boys as responsible for his death, indicating that he had long been “a do-it-yourselfer type of guy who rarely sent one of his automobiles into the shop for work.” Instead, he would work on his own vehicles, including repairing and replacing brakes that he purchased at four different shops, with the majority being purchased from “his favorite”, Pep Boys. The evidence submitted indicated that Pep Boys “sold asbestos-containing brakes during the 1960s through the mid-1980s,” and he had purchased “Bendix, EIS and Raybestos brand brakes during this period.” It cited examples of his exposure to the asbestos contained in those brakes, which came from acuities including “brushing brake dust from auto wheel drums, grinding or sanding brake shoes, handling ‘core’ (old) brake parts and sweeping up brake dust.” As a result, he had inhaled or ingested asbestos particles which led to his eventual illness and death.

When the court decided on damages in the case, it specifically disallowed damages for home health services that Mr. Williams needed as a result of his mesothelioma. It also allowed expert fees to be reimbursed to Pep Boys. The family appealed this case and Judge Ethan Schulman agreed and reversed those aspects of the decision. Where the original decision had awarded the family $213,052 which was offset by settlements the family had already received from other defendants, the appeals court decision will allow the family to be compensated for those expenses which had previously been left out of the decision.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important that you understand all of the benefits and rights to which you are entitled. The Patient Advocates at can provide you with assistance in these and other matters. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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