Bernick wraps up his cross-examination of Locke
Defense attorney David Bernick completed his forceful cross-examination of former W.R. Grace vice president Robert Locke on Thursday.
Throughout his cross-examination, Bernick pointed out a number of things to which Locke testified in 2004, things Bernick showed Locke failed to mention to the jury during his initial examination earlier this week.
Ten times or more, Bernick was frustrated by Locke’s inability to answer specific questions, often saying, “I didn’t ask you that question,” to Locke’s response. Locke also seemed to grow agitated.
At one point Judge Donald Molloy chimed in to ask Locke, “Are you paying attention to his questions?”
“Yes, but he’s jumping around,” Locke said.
Bernick also discussed the “dilemma” caused by the latency period of asbestos exposure. “You have exposure, disease, and the lag is latency, correct?” Bernick asked Locke. “So, just because Grace is observing that miners are getting asbestosis in 1970 doesn’t mean it is from exposure in 1970.”
Locke said, “different people respond differently…[however] it takes time.”
Bernick concluded his argument concerning latency by saying that generally speaking it [asbestos disease] is caused by conditions earlier on. So, the value of a study by the National Insitutes of Occupational Safety and Health study principally would be in the future, he said. Locke agreed.
Bernick went on to question Locke about whether the NIOSH study in 1981 intended to scrutinize vermiculite or tremolite. Bernick said that W.R. Grace executive vice president Elwood “Chip” Wood opposed the study because it focused on vermiculite, which is different than tremolite.
“The only data that existed [in 1981] was data on tremolite asbestos,” Locke said. “There was confusion in the NIOSH approach as to whether they were studying vermiculite or tremolite.” Locke said that in time NIOSH did change the terminology.
Bernick wrapped up his cross-examination by displaying a document Locke wrote in November 1983, which was admitted into evidence without objection from the prosecution. In it Locke wrote to a former coworker that W.R. Grace was his “clear number one career preference.”
Court was scheduled to be back in session at 1:30 p.m. with the continued cross-examination of Locke.
– Chris D’Angelo (posted 2:20 p.m.)