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Cohen, Placitella & Roth Attorneys Concluded Trial Thought to be First in the Country

Durham water putty

Cohen, Placitella & Roth attorneys William L. Kuzmin and Rachel Placitella recently concluded a trial, thought to be the first in the country, against the manufacturer of a talc containing building product, allegedly contaminated with asbestos. The trial involved our client, Joseph Hollish, who, it was alleged, developed lung cancer as a result of his exposure to asbestos containing products throughout his 20+ year career as a carpenter. Through the course of the litigation, Mr. Hollish’s claims were resolved against all defendants, with the exception of Donald Durham Company, a Des Moines, Iowa based manufacturer of “Durham’s Water Putty”, a commercially available product used in the building trades as well as for arts and crafts.

The trial, which took place in New Jersey Superior Court, Middlesex County, before the Honorable Ana C. Viscomi, J.S.C., involved the issue of asbestos contamination in talc. Durham maintained that the talc used in their product during the relevant time period in the 70’s and early 80’s, was asbestos free, as represented to them by their supplier R.T. Vanderbilt.

Following 2 weeks of testimony from plaintiff’s expert Sean Fitzgerald, and Durham President Ronald Lindhart, a settlement was reached between the parties on January 4, 2016 in the middle of the cross examination of Durham’s corporate witness. While, as a result of the terms of the settlement, no liability was acknowledged on behalf of Durham, the work done on this case by Mr. Kuzmin and Ms. Placitella epitomize the work ethic of the firm and willingness to pursue the difficult cases on behalf of clients, where others may not.

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Cohen, Placitella & Roth, PC
(732) 747-9003

127 Maple Avenue
Red Bank, NJ 07701




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