Kellen Gorman v. Crenshaw Lumber

by Ted Frank on November 8, 2005

Three years ago, when he was 2, a medical exam discovered brain lesions on Kellen Gorman. His family blames “toxic mold” for his autism (though his two siblings weren’t affected) in the house, and sued 17 defendants—including the lumberyard that supplied the wood for the house. Six weeks into trial, the case has settled for $22.6 million and, amazingly, it’s the lumberyard that’s paying the bulk of it: $13 million, or more than $200,000 for each of its sixty employees. As it was, the lumberyard had hired seventeen experts to try the case, but had ten of them (including a toxicologist and microbiolgist) excluded when they missed a court-ordered deadline for disclosure. (The Gormans’ attorney, Brian Witzer, accuses a defense attorney of trying to backdate a document, and says he has filed ethical charges.) The Gormans already have plans for their millions: “We’ll tear [the house] down and take it to a hazardous waste dump and build a really nice house,” [Dana] Gorman said. “It will cost a lot to tear down and rebuild.” (Josh Grossberg, “Manhattan Beach family wins $22.6 million suit”, Los Angeles Daily Breeze, Nov. 7; NBC-4, Nov. 4). And if housing seems a bit more expensive in California, it’s because even the raw materials suppliers must purchase insurance against the risk of multi-million-dollar junk science verdicts.

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LA Weekly: The Mold Rush and the case of Sharon Kramer and Bruce Kelman
07.24.08 at 5:37 pm

{ 5 comments }

1 Robert 11.08.05 at 12:30 pm

Good luck finding someone to sell you the stuff to build your next house.

2 Supremacy Claus 11.20.05 at 5:42 am

Linked article has been removed. What was the name of the plaintiff expert on autism?

3 Lawrence Wilson 11.30.05 at 7:04 pm

The effects of mold as a toxin has been known for decades. Junk Science untill it happens to you or your family.

4 Sharon Kramer 12.03.05 at 12:59 am

Junk Science? Try Junk Lawyers – The defense attorneys missed a deadline for designation of experts, post dated some docs, and got caught.

5 Ted 12.03.05 at 7:22 am

The last two comments seem to think it appropriate for a lumberyard to have to hire seventeen experts to defend itself at a trial over the sale of a low-price commodity, and that will result in a more efficient economy. I suggest that that’s not so.

Mold doesn’t cause autism. The case never should’ve been brought, much less tolerated in a court, such that the lumberyard’s lawyers were in a position to make a multi-million dollar mistake.

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