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Horvitz & Levy is a solutions-based firm focused on appellate success. We are distinguished by our commitment to responsive service and on-going innovation in the areas of civil appellate litigation, amicus curiae support, and trial strategy consultation.

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Horvitz & Levy LLP successfully represented Plant Insulation Company on appeal from a judgment in a wrongful death action arising out of a decedent’s occupational exposure to asbestos. The decedent, Mr. Ulysses Collins, was exposed to asbestos while working for the Navy for over 30 years at Navy shipyards. Although the Navy specified the use of asbestos products, and Mr. Collins was exposed to asbestos from numerous sources at those shipyards, there was evidence the Navy did not train Mr. Collins to work with or around asbestos, warn him about the dangers of doing that work, or provide him with a mask or any other respiratory protection. Mr. Collins contracted mesothelioma and later died of complications from that disease. Plaintiffs’ claims were tried to a jury, but the trial court ruled that no fault could be allocated to the Navy because, as a sovereign entity, it was immune from tort liability.

In a published opinion, the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division One, reversed. The Court of Appeal held that juries should be permitted to allocate fault to all whose conduct contributed to a plaintiff’s injury, including those with immunity from suit. The Court of Appeal distinguished between an entity engaging in conduct that the Legislature has determined is not wrongful, and an entity like the Navy with immunity from suit notwithstanding wrongful conduct; the jury must be allowed to allocate fault to the latter. The Court of Appeal remanded for a new trial on the allocation of fault.