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California Asbestos Victim Wins Important Federal Court Ruling

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A California man who contracted the lung disease mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at work has won an important ruling that prevents Lorillard Tobacco Company (NYSE: LO) from further delaying a civil damages trial by attempting to get the case transferred to federal court.

Doctors for Dimitris O. Couscouris have told him that he may have only months to live, but the Simi Valley resident and his wife have continued to pursue their claims against Lorillard and other defendants as part of a lawsuit originally filed in December of last year. The lawsuit alleges the companies exposed Mr. Couscouris to asbestos, which led to his developing mesothelioma.

Mr. and Mrs. Couscouris are represented by attorneys Trey Jones and Rabi David from The Lanier Law Firm's Los Angeles office.

In May 2012, Lorillard attempted to have the case removed to federal court, claiming that Mr. Couscouris could not have been exposed to products manufactured by the defendants that were based in California. However, U.S. District Court Judge George H. King denied Lorillard's motion and remanded the case to state court. The company then attempted to remove the case to federal court a second time, but Judge King denied the second attempt on Aug. 1, 2012.

Lorillard then appealed Judge King's ruling to the 9 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and filed a motion to stay all the proceedings in state court during the appeal. On Aug. 21, 2012, Judge King denied Lorillard's motion to stay, finding that "Lorillard has failed to establish that it is entitled to a stay of all state court proceedings," and that "Lorillard is not likely to succeed on the merits of its appeal."

"We are pleased that the court has decided that this case can continue, and now the Couscouris family is one step closer to receiving justice," says Mr. Jones, lead counsel for the family.

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