Benjamin “Ben” Goldstein is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy. Based in the firm’s San Francisco office, Ben serves as the firm’s West Coast Asbestos Litigation Manager. He has represented plaintiffs injured by exposure to asbestos, benzene, and other toxic substances and environmental contaminants since 2004.

“The law should help the common, everyday person – veterans, construction workers, mechanics – to reclaim their dignity,” he said. “In most cases, my clients are not privileged or advantaged with expensive credentials. They are people who worked hard, tried to make an honest living. But the industrial and commercial systems they helped to build ultimately failed to prioritize – or even consider – their health. My job is to help redress that wrong.”

Overseeing West Coast Operations

Ben manages the firm’s West Coast practice, overseeing cases filed in California, Washington and Oregon. “Because the firm is a nationwide law firm” he said, “it allows our mesothelioma attorneys to file in the most appropriate jurisdiction for our clients based on their asbestos exposure histories.”

“A lot of people retire to locations far from where they spent the bulk of their career,” Ben explained. “If someone spent 10-20 years working in an industry where they were exposed to asbestos in a West Coast state like California but now they live in the Midwest, hiring an asbestos law firm with experience litigating in courts nationwide is critical.”

His West Coast team is ready to assist clients and their families, no matter where they live now.

Negotiating Key Mesothelioma Settlements for Clients

Ben’s work on the firm’s mesothelioma cases has resulted in multi-million dollar results on behalf of victims suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other diseases caused by toxic exposures. As a member of the firm’s negotiation committee, his work involves overseeing and handling the pre-trial resolution process. He also helps families understand the asbestos bankruptcy process.

Once an asbestos case moves to trial, Ben works closely with his trial team while engaging with the attorneys on the other side to ensure his clients receive the compensation they deserve. He understands that his clients’ lives and their family members’ well-being are depending on the negotiation and trial process.

“We have a culture of standing for our clients – that’s not merely a branding moto,” Ben said.

Providing a Clear Path to an Asbestos Trial

While for some clients, an asbestos settlement is the best outcome; in other cases, it may come to a point during negotiations when a trial is likely to be more beneficial for the client.

“The decision to take a mesothelioma case to trial is a very personal decision that varies based on the unique circumstances surrounding our clients’ circumstances,” Ben said. “It is always my goal to provide the clearest possible legal guidance to assist them in making the best decision for themselves and their families.”

Ben’s experience as a lead negotiator for mesothelioma cases includes two cases where he and his clients rejected final offers to proceed to a plaintiffs’ verdict.

In 2018, he negotiated an asbestos case that went to trial against J-M Manufacturing on behalf of the firm’s client Norris Morgan, who was exposed to asbestos-containing transite pipe while working as a construction supervisor in the 1970s in Southern California. The jury awarded Norris and his wife a total of $30.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

In 2019, Ben negotiated the asbestos trial case of Arthur Putt, a former mechanic who was diagnosed with mesothelioma after repeated exposure to asbestos-containing brakes manufactured by Ford. After a four-week trial, the jury awarded a $34 million verdict, which included $4.5 million in compensatory damages to Arthur and $4 million in loss of consortium damages to his wife, Janet. In addition, determining that Ford acted with fraud, oppression and malice, the jury awarded $25.5 million in punitive damages.

Both mesothelioma verdicts were ranked on the Top 100 Verdicts List for that year by the National Law Journal and VerdictSearch, which tracks the nation’s largest jury verdicts each year.

Background and Experience

After graduating from the College of Charleston, Ben earned his Juris Doctorate with honors from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He is licensed to practice law in California. Additionally, he is a member of the American Association for Justice, the Consumer Attorneys of California and the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association.

Ben is conversationally proficient in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

Practice Areas:

  • Mesothelioma & Asbestos
  • Toxic Torts / Products Liability

Bar and Court Admissions:

  • California

Recognition:

Articles and Presentations:

  • Co-authored Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer: Medical and Scientific Consensus Versus Imaginative Lawyering, HarrisMartin Columns Publishing (2013)
  • Presented on “Lung Cancer: Filing Trends and Medical Causation” at Perrin Asbestos Litigation Conference: A National Overview & Outlook Conference in San Francisco, CA (2013)
  • Moderated panel of speakers on “The Emerging Lung Cancer Case: An Analysis of Surging Filing Trends, Asbestos Trust Issues and the Modern Causation Case” at Perrin Asbestos Litigation Conference: Cutting Edge Issues in Asbestos Litigation Conference in Beverley Hills, CA (2014)
  • Presented as a panelist regarding “Hot Topics in Asbestos Litigation” at the American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section’s (TIPS) 23rd Annual Spring CLE Meeting of the Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee in Phoenix, AZ. (2014)

Representative Experience:

  • Mesothelioma & Asbestos
  • Toxic Torts / Products Liability
  • Morrison v. Copeland Corporation, SFSC 432013.  Verdict: $5 million.  March 8, 2006.
  • Johnsen v. Kaiser Gypsum Co., SFSC 442973.  Verdict: $5.9 million.  May 18, 2006.

Affiliations:

  • Consumer Attorneys of California
  • American Association for Justice
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association

Education:

  • College of Charleston
  • University of San Francisco with Honors