A California appeals court has ruled that Waters & Kraus, one of the nation’s leading asbestos litigation firms, did not engage in “judicially sanctioned extortion,” as a Los Angeles trial judge contended last year.

The case involves a wrongful-death action brought by Waters & Kraus on behalf of the widow of John H. Washington Jr., a former maintenance worker for the Los Angeles Unified School District who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2006. Six months before he died, Washington was deposed in Texas, where Waters & Kraus originally filed his suit. The firm then dismissed the case but re-filed in California, where defendants are required to ask a plaintiff specific questions relating to their products in order to throw a case out on a summary judgment motion. Since depositions are limited to six hours per side in Texas, the defendants, who hadn’t asked those questions, sought another deposition of Washington. By that time, Waters & Kraus maintained that Washington was too ill to go through another deposition.

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