The Trial: Miller v. A.W. Chesterton
The Attorney: J. Bruce Jackson, for the plaintiff.
Causation can be a particularly difficult element to prove in toxic tort cases. Time is often a plaintiff's attorney's biggest enemy in such suits. The decades that pass between the exposure to a defendant's chemical and plaintiff's illness can fuel skeptical jurors' doubt in your argument. In Miller v. A.W. Chesterton, J. Bruce Jackson uses his opening statement to lead jurors step by step from Ralph Miller's asbestos exposure to his mesothelioma years later.
Miller worked for more than 30 years for an irrigation district, first maintaining pipes, then as a dispatcher, before ultimately developing mesothelioma, which he claimed came from the asbestos in the pipes he worked with. In his opening statement, Jackson walks jurors through the long process of the pipes' construction, including their asbestos fiber composition, and how those carcinogenic fibers were released into the air as they were cut and fitted. He also details Miller's daily duties that exposed him to asbestos nearly every day of his dcades-long career. It's an opening statement that lays the groundwork for a direct link between Miller's work and his illness, and ultimately led to a pre-verdict settlement for his client.