Selman Breitman Trial Team Wins After Jury Is Asked To Award $43 Million In Home Furnace Case

On July 11, 2014, after a four-week jury trial in Santa Monica, the jury only needed four hours of deliberation to return a victory for Selman Breitman's client, a well-known furnace manufacturer, where plaintiffs were seeking more than $4.2 million in property damages, and more than $43 million in punitive damages. Plaintiffs alleged that a smoke event occurred in their furnace, at the circuit board, which caused their home to be filled with toxic smoke, requiring them to completely rebuild and modernize their Brentwood home and replace most of their personal possessions. The 60-year-old female plaintiff, part of "Hollywood royalty," also claimed she sustained personal injuries, including environmental asthma from the toxic smoke. Through pre-trial motions, expert testimony and cross-examination of plaintiffs and their witnesses, Karen Goldberg and Rod Cappy were able to convince the jury that plaintiffs were unreasonable and over-reaching with regard to their claims, and failed to perform the necessary testing to determine whether the house or its contents was actually contaminated. The jury unanimously determined that Selman Breitman's client, the furnace manufacturer, did not disregard the safety of its customers, and refused to award punitive damages, instead only awarding $213,700 for property damages and $5,000 for past medical bills, none of which were the responsibility of Selman Breitman's client after extensive negotiations related to the indemnity agreement with the circuit board manufacturer.

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