Segal McCambridge Trial Team Wins Connecticut Asbestos Case


March 23, 2015

The Segal McCambridge team of Joseph Cagnoli (Pennsylvania Shareholder), Jeremy Dongilli (Pennsylvania  Of Counsel) and John LaBoon (Texas Shareholder) won a verdict for their client, Rogers Corporation, in the case of Marsha Lagerberg, executor of the estate of Erick Lagerberg, et al. v. Armstrong International Inc., et al. in the Superior Court of Connecticut. The verdict came after less than two hours of deliberation by the jury in a five-week trial.

The case was uniquely challenging as it involved a former employee of Rogers but, did not focus on his occupational exposure.  Instead, the plaintiff attempted to proceed on a pollution claim, alleging that Rogers had released asbestos into the surrounding community in which he had lived for his entire life.  The defense was to focus the case on the community exposure levels as measured against known ambient or background levels to which everyone is exposed.  Demonstrating these levels, the goal was to make it clear that the community exposures were so slight that they did not raise the background exposure and therefore were not the cause of mesothelioma in this case.

By showing the jury the science behind the asbestos exposures in real-life terms, the team was able to prove that the community exposure was not a factor in causing Plaintiff’s illness.  The Segal McCambridge team explained that the percentage of community exposure measured against the background was like comparing the diameter of a dime to the height of the Empire State Building.   This example was cited as impactful on the overall analysis by the jury in deciding the ‘substantial contributing factor’ question.

Joseph Cagnoli, Jr. is a trial lawyer who represents individuals, corporations, and public entities in product liability, toxic tort/environmental litigation and matters involving alleged municipal/public entity liability. Mr. Cagnoli also has significant experience representing manufacturers of vehicles and commercial and industrial equipment in product liability and environmental matters including benzene, asbestos and other chemical exposures.

Local counsel assisting the Segal McCambridge team included Joel Pierce and Michael Leedberg of Pierce, Davis & Perritano.

Jeremy Dongilli defends clients involved in products liability matters arising from exposure to toxic substances including asbestos, benzene, silica, lead, diacetyl, and thimerosal. He has also defended the interests of pharmaceutical clients involved in multijurisdictional products liability lawsuits. Mr. Dongilli has served as lead attorney on cases and is experienced with all aspects of the litigation process.

John LaBoon focuses his trial practice on tort defense with an emphasis in asbestos and silica litigation involving products liability, contractor liability and premises liability claims. Over the past 20 years, he has developed substantial experience in the state-of-the-art defense, medical causation and epidemiology. Mr. LaBoon represents numerous manufacturers, premises owners and construction contractors in asbestos and silica cases.