As reported total’s digital issue of Pacific Business News, Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman has won a major judgment in Hawai‘i State Circuit Court against a San Francisco law firm that engaged in bad faith legal practices.
On May 1, the Hawai‘i state court ruled that a case over asbestos exposure at Pearl Harbor was tainted by an improper defense by San Francisco law firm Hugo Parker LLP in its representation of manufacturer Tate Andale Inc. In the case, Hugo Parker was alleged to have both engaged in discovery deceit and to have failed to investigate the cover-up of tens of thousands of documents that were improperly withheld by the manufacturer.
Judge Rhonda Nishimura ruled that the $1.12 million award reflected the costs incurred by plaintiffs solely through the defense’s misdeeds, stating, “Those fees and costs would not have been incurred in the absence of the sanctioned conduct.”
The case in question stems from a December 2016 ruling against Hugo Parker. Client Tate Andale was alleged to have caused injury to plaintiff William Schane. Schane had been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, which Plaintiffs alleged resulted from exposure to industrial products containing asbestos at Pearl Harbor’s submarine repair base. The manufacturer, Tate Andale, claimed that virtually none of the firm’s products ever contained asbestos.
After attorneys at the Galiher law firm uncovered evidence of asbestos in Tate Andale products, Hugo Parker attorneys repeatedly claimed that documents requested by plaintiffs did not exist, could not be located or were for products that did not contain asbestos.
When compelled to comply with the Galiher law firm’s disclosure requests, Hugo Parker ultimately produced more than 60,000 records that had been culpably withheld. Not only had the historical documents requested by plaintiffs in discovery been readily available all along, the trove revealed the existence of asbestos in a product the company had previously claimed had none.
Ilana Waxman, managing partner of Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman, which represented the plaintiffs, said, “Tate Andale and its CEO had clearly decided to commit perjury as a legal strategy. This included altering some of its own documents to make it look like they hadn’t contained asbestos. Its defense attorneys did not follow the rules of legal ethics; rather, they opted to try to help their client cover up its historical sales of asbestos-containing products to the U.S. Navy and Pearl Harbor.”
The Pearl Harbor shipyard has been a major source of asbestos exposure in Hawai‘i, affecting thousands of residents, workers and their families in the islands according to court records. Mesothelima is a devastating and incurable cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The disease can take several decades to develop so exposure many years ago continues to cause disease in Navy veteran and shipyard workers today.
About Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman
Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman is a Hawai‘i law firm founded in 1978 and nationally recognized for its work on behalf of victims of mesothelioma and asbestos cancer. The firm also serves Hawai‘i residents in cases of elder abuse, serious personal injury and wrongful death. The firm has represented hundreds of mesothelioma clients, assisting in cases in over 40 states and several foreign countries.