JVR Trial Excellence Awards 2022


Charles C. Doolittle, Jr., Donna Doolittle v Ford Motor Co. 17L-9996 Tried Feb. 18-28, 2020

VERDICT: Not Guilty

JUDGE: Clare E. McWilliams (IL Cook-Law)

Manuel Sanchez Manuel “Manny” is the Founder and Manag- ing Partner of Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP. Over the past 35 years the firm has earned a reputation as one of the premier civil litigation defense firms in the State of Illinois and has grown into the second largest minority-owned law firm in the United States. Manny is a highly accomplished trial lawyer, specializing in multimillion-dollar complex product liability, construction, professional liability, employment law and toxic tort de- fense litigation. He has been the lead coun- sel and successfully tried to verdict more than 75 cases in both State and Federal Court in Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana. He has received an AV Preeminent peer rating by Martindale-Hubbell for the past 35 years. Highly regarded by his peers, he is a multi- term elected member of the Illinois State Bar General Assembly, past Co-chair of the ABA Commission on the Jury and was se- lected as the recipient of the 2013 Distin- guished Award for Excellence by the Illinois Bar Foundation.

PLTF ATTY(S): William R. Fahey, Robert J. Cooney, Jr., Lawrence R. Weisler of Cooney & Conway (Chicago, IL) for both pltfs DEMAND: $5,000,000 ASKED: $45,000,000 DEFT ATTY(S): Samuel L. Tarry, Jr. of McGuireWoods (Richmond, VA), Manuel Sanchez, Renee Ziolkowski of Sanchez, Daniels & Hoffman (Chicago, IL) (Self-Insured) OFFER: $50,000

PLTF MEDL: Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler (Oncologist) for Charles C. Doolittle, Jr.

PLTF EXPERT(S): Dr. Murray Finkelstein, Ph.D. (Epidemiologist); Dr. Arthur L. Frank (Industrial/Occupational Medicine) for Charles C. Doolittle, Jr. DEFT EXPERT(S): Dr. Victor Roggli (Pathologist); Fionna S. Mowat, Ph.D. of Exponent, 149 Commonwealth Drive, Menlo Park, CA (650-688-1782) (Environmental Scientist) Pltf Charles Doolittle worked as an auto mechanic for several Ford dealerships from 1992 through 2000. Pltf contended he was exposed to products which contained asbestos while on the job, and also back when he was a student from 1990 to 1992, causing him to subsequently develop peritoneal mesothe- lioma. Specifically, pltf maintained Ford failed to adequately warn him of the dangers of asbestos in automotive products, including brakes. Pltf, 47 years old at trial, sought damages for reduced life expectancy, pain/suffering, emotional distress, and lost earnings; his wife claimed loss of consortium. Their lawsuit was filed against numerous defts, but Ford was the only remaining deft at trial. The sole issue at trial was a negligent failure to warn theory. The defense ar- gued Ford’s shop manuals, technical service bulletins, and training materials contained warnings regarding asbestos and included admonitions against us- ing compressed air while performing brake work. The jury reportedly deliber- ated 4.5 hours.

Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP is a full service civil practice law firm with the top AV Martindale-Hubbell rating. The firm is actively involved in the preparation, trial and appeal, if necessary, of civil cases of all kinds including personal injury, property damage, coverage disputes and other litigation. The firm specializes in the fields of product liability, construction, warranty, and civil rights litigation. A major portion of their practice is devoted to transportation issues, toxic torts, alleged “bad faith” insurance claims, insurance coverage, excess and reinsurance matters, homeowner’s liability, and fire and explosion claims. Additionally, the firm handles contractual, commercial and real estate litigation as well as injunctive and/or equity relief, and appellate litigation.


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