Jury Awards DePascale Plaintiffs $12 Million Against Verizon for Failure to Clean Toxic Waste Site in HicksvilleThursday, November 12, 2009
In a ground-breaking victory in a David vs. Goliath courtroom setting (it appeared that Verizon had no fewer than 15 attorneys from around the country at the trial), our client Gerard DePascale, his wife, and Liam Neville were awarded $12million today by a jury against Verizon in federal District Court in Central Islip, New York. Specifically, both Mr. Depascale and Mr. Neville were awarded $5 million, while Mrs. DePascale was awarded $2 million.
Gerard DePascale came down with a rare cancer, Stage 4 extra-skeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma, as a result of being exposed, without his knowledge, to various cancer causing toxins on Verizon property while working for a company called Magazine Distributors. The cancer spread to his lungs and he has endured numerous surgeries. Liam Neville also worked for Magazine Distributors in the same location and developed severe kidney disease as a result of the unknown exposure.
The evidence presented at trial showed that Verizon knew about the toxic waste dump on its land in Hicksville as early as 1986 and had an opportunity to investigate and clean-up the site. However, Verizon never notified the workers of the potential danger on the site and it was only after years of exposure to the workers that they began to do a belated clean-up.
In a related case, Turley Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco along with attorney Mitchell Breit, has a pending class action in federal court against Verizon for exposure of these toxins to all workers (which could be well over 1000) in a "medical monitoring" class action lawsuit. We seek to establish a "9/11 type fund" where Verizon will have to pay for all future medical expenses to monitor the health of the innocent workers. We seek to have the "medical monitoring to be done at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, just like the 9/11 victims. In another related case, Verizon has already settled with residents in the surrounding area in a multi-million dollar settlement to compensate them for their increased risk of cancer.
Turley Redmond & Rosasco, L.L.P. has already won Mr. Depascale’s workers’ compensation claim before a trial judge at the New York State Workers Compensation Board, but the case is still unresolved as a result of the employer’s appeal.
Congratulations are due the plaintiff’s lead lawyers, Gonzalez & Robinson, from California. Finally, we wish both the DePascale and Neville families the best of luck. Verizon is sure to appeal, so their fight is not over yet. But the verdict today still is a prime example of how a jury of your peers can level the playing field against giant corporations with unlimited resources such as Verizon.