In April 2009, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report on mortality related to mesothelioma, a fatal cancer primarily associated with exposure to asbestos. The report indicated the number of malignant mesothelioma deaths is continuing to increase each year despite the ban since 1982 on most uses of asbestos. Given the long latency period for asbestos-related disease, the CDC estimates the number of mesothelioma deaths will continue to rise for a short time before beginning a slow decline.

Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell partner John Fitzpatrick sees a corollary rise in the number of liability lawsuits being filed by plaintiffs' attorneys on behalf of those who have developed malignant mesothelioma.

Considering the number of cases tried, the caliber of clients represented, and the favorable results obtained, it's safe to say that Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell has one of the top national trial teams defending companies against personal injury and product liability tort claims related to asbestos exposure. WTO has been called the go-to trial defense firm in the asbestos world, especially when the situation looks bleak and time is running out.

WTO lawyers had been handling asbestos-related claims for years, when the firm's practice in this area mushroomed with the addition in 2007 of John Fitzpatrick and Rick Nadolink, partners at a Virginia law firm who had built a substantial national asbestos litigation practice representing major corporations like General Electric, Foster Wheeler, Dana, Pneumo Abex, Velan Valve, and Crane Co. That representation includes acting as lead trial counsel in cases across the country for those clients while helping to develop national trial strategy. John Fitzpatrick has over 30 years of experience in asbestos litigation, beginning in 1989 as the youngest of 10 national trial lawyers for Owens Corning Fiberglass, one of the original insulation companies. He has tried cases in some of the most challenging jurisdictions, including Newport News, VA; Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore, MD; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and Pascagoula, MS--to name a few. 

WTO lawyers have spoken at several Defense Research Institute asbestos conferences on topics including: the Navy's state-of-the-art knowledge and why warnings are irrelevant in Navy cases; how to prepare for and defend depositions of corporate representatives; why plaintiffs' post-OSHA failure to warn claims should always fail; and how to defeat plaintiffs' claims that every exposure to asbestos contributed to the development of mesothelioma.

WTO has a comprehensive asbestos trial and coordinating counsel team that is ready to travel anywhere in the country to coordinate litigation and take challenging cases to verdict.

Professionals Representative Clients
  • Dana Corporation - National Trial Counsel
  • Foster Wheeler - National Trial Counsel
  • General Electric - National Trial Counsel
  • Velan - National Trial Counsel