Expert Testimony:In this case, Mr. Johnson was retained to testify regarding two elements of damages, compensatory and punitive.
First, Mr. Johnson testified as to Mrs. Evans’ loss of income, the value of her attendant care to her granddaughter and the loss of household services. Mr. Johnson calculated the present cash value of these damages to be between $800,000 and $1,050,000 over Mrs. Evan’s normal
Compensatory Result: On April 28, 2010, after nearly a four week trial, the jury returned a verdict of $6.8 million for
Mrs. Evans and $2 million for loss of consortium for Mr. Evans.
Punitive Damages Testimony: Mr. Johnson was then asked to return the day after the verdict to testify as to punitive damages. In this phase, Mr. Johnson’s primary task was to frame, in economic terms, the “financial condition” of CertainTeed Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain. The term “financial condition” encompasses the areas of financial health, wealth and economic status.
CertainTeed never provided financial statements that would have allowed Mr. Johnson to opine as to their complete financial condition, so he had to look to the financial statements of the parent company, Saint-Gobain. In reviewing Saint-Gobain’s financials, none of CertainTeed’s financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, etc.) were delineated in Saint-Gobain’s consolidated financials. But through rigorous digging in Saint-Gobain’s financial documents, Mr. Johnson was successful in finding two critical financial elements that applied to CertainTeed Corporation.
First, in 2008 CertainTeed had approximately $3 billion in Sales or more than $8.0 million per day. Second, Saint-Gobain had a “Reserve for Asbestos Related Claims Against CertainTeed” of more than $500 million in 2008 and 2009.
Mr. Johnson explained to the jury what this meant was that Saint-Gobain had acknowledged and put aside a half billion dollar asbestos reserve for potential future settlements of and judgments against CertainTeed.
After Mr. Johnson had testified as to the punitive damages, the jury deliberated for just a few hours before returning a $200 million verdict for the plaintiffs. This was the fourth largest jury verdict of 2010.
Attorney’s Comments: According to plaintiffs’ counsel William Levin, “Mr. Johnson was provided with very little as
to CertainTeed’s financials. Parent companies are strategically not supplying the financials of their wholly-owned subsidiaries so that the juries can not accurately assess a complete picture of their wealth. After doing his due diligence, Mr. Johnson found just the wrinkle he needed in finding a footnote in Saint-Gobain’s 2009 financial statements that put CertainTeed’s wealth into perspective for the jury. Saint-Gobain was able to put
aside over a half billion dollars in a ‘Reserve for Asbestos Related Claims Against CertainTeed in 2008 and 2009’. I really think this really sealed the fate for CertainTeed and their parent Saint-Gobain”.