On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, a Hudson County jury rendered a defense verdict in favor of Tilcon New York Inc. and ExxonMobil.   Tilcon New York Inc. was represented by Robert Baum and Pooja Patel of McGivney, Kluger and Cook.  Plaintiff, Mrs. Dawn McAdam, alleged that her husband, David McAdam, developed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) as a result of work he performed for the Secaucus Department of Public Works (DPW) over the course of 22 years.  Mr. McAdam worked as a laborer/driver from 1988 to 2010.   He worked with gasoline, diesel, hot mix asphalt and tar, which his estate claimed exposed him to benzene, which led to the development of his AML.   Mr. McAdam passed away in 2011 at the age of 53.

The Honorable Joseph Isabella presided over the five-week trial that began on January 3, 2017.    Plaintiff presented testimony from three of Mr. McAdam’s coworkers who testified as to the type of work performed by laborers/drivers.  The tasks included weed whacking, landscaping, filling potholes and road cracks, creating sidewalks, and recycling.   They identified the sources of the gasoline, diesel, hot mix asphalt and tar used by the DPW, among which was hot mix asphalt manufactured by Tilcon New York Inc. 

Plaintiff called Dr. Robert Laumbach and Dr. Steven Gore as their occupational and medical experts.  Dr. Gore testified that Mr. McAdam worked with gasoline, diesel fuel and hot mix asphalt on a frequent, regular, and proximate basis, such that it substantially contributed to his development of AML.  Dr. Gore testified that each and every molecule of benzene Mr. McAdam was exposed to, contributed to the development of the disease.   

Dr. Laumbach expounded on the levels of exposure to benzene from the various products.  As to hot mix asphalt, Dr. Laumbach conceded he was unable to quantify the amount of benzene exposure from same, however, he determined it was a substantial contributing factor nonetheless.   

To establish economic loss, Plaintiff presented Dr. Leo Turcotte, who testified about the estate’s lost wage claim, fringe benefits loss and loss of services.   Dr. Turcotte testified that the estate suffered a loss of up to $1,196,874.00 as a result of Mr. McAdam’s AML and subsequent death.   Plaintiff also alleged that the medical costs for Mr. McAdam’s treatment were $1,156,413.13.  

Mrs. McAdam and the couple’s daughter also testified about the type of man Mr. McAdam was, their relationship and his pain and suffering.   Plaintiff even called Tilcon New York Inc.’s person most knowledgeable in their own case to establish a case against Tilcon New York Inc.

In addition to the Tilcon New York Inc. witness called by Plaintiff, Tilcon New York Inc.  called the asphalt general manager to discuss what exactly hot mix asphalt is, how it is made, and the procedure for purchasing and picking up same.   Tilcon New York Inc. also presented testimony from toxicologist Dr. Laura Green, who testified there is absolutely no literature linking hot mix asphalt work with the development of AML. 

The jury of eight people was charged on February 7, 2017, and in a little over an hour rendered a verdict in favor of Defendants.   The jury found in a vote of 8 to 0 that hot mix asphalt did not contribute to Mr. McAdam’s development of AML.