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Most people have heard of Warren Zevon, or at the very least heard some of his songs. Some of his more famous songs included “Werewolves of London,” “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” and, “Poor Poor Pitiful Me.”  Many are aware that he died in 2003 from cancer, but it is not well known that he died of mesothelioma. He was only 58 years old when he died of malignant mesothelioma.  His death also occurred a time in his life when he had decided to give up most his bad habits and live a healthy life. His son said he was living healthy and even taking dancing lessons when he first noticed the symptoms that would ultimately lead to his diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma.

shotThese days, Zevon’s son is taking up the fight to make people aware of the deadly disease of mesothelioma and raise money to find a cure.  There are treatments, but they basically require very invasive surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and, even in the best case scenario, will normally only extend a patient’s life for a short period of time, but there is nothing close to the success rate we see with the treatment of other types of cancer. Continue reading →

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The highest court in the State of New York has just upheld a $3 million verdict, according to a recent news article from The Buffalo News.  In this case, a former employee who worked as a pipe fitter for General Motors Company at one of their engine plants had died in 2011 when he was 77-years-old.  This was before the verdict was ultimately upheld by the New York Court of Appeals. Once the plaintiff had died, his surviving spouse continued the lawsuit in his name, as is often the case due the deadly nature of mesothelioma.

sparks1He actually died just three months before the jury returned a verdict finding several named defendants failed to adequately warn him of the risks of asbestos. Jurors awarded him $3 million in damages, which will now go to his legal heirs, including his surviving spouse and children. Continue reading →

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According to a recent news article from the Patriot Ledger, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has finally approved an asbestos abatement plan for a church that is slated to be demolished in Quincy.  This is after a month-long shut down on the project so an asbestos abatement plan could be reviewed and approved.

tower-in-the-sky-1148256-mThe plan that was ultimately approved was drafted by a licensed asbestos abatement firm in Boston.  The need for this shutdown, or freeze as they called it, came as result of concerns that asbestos was being removed or otherwise handled in an unsafe manner. Continue reading →

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In recent years, there have been a number of sizable mesothelioma lawsuit damage awards. This has prompted oft-repeated refrains for tort reform, questions about how jurors could ever conclude such a sum was justified and lamenting that such awards drive up various costs (taxes, insurance, product prices, etc.) for the rest of us. hospitalroom

Certainly, our mesothelioma attorneys know that these damage awards sound like an awful lot. After all, how many of us ever dreamed of winning $11 million or more?

But what is often misunderstood is that these damage awards are not windfalls. They are compensation for actual irreversible harms – up to and including death. Yes, punitive damages – intended to punish defendants for egregious wrongs – are sometimes factored in. But plaintiffs have to meet a certain proof burden before they can even seek punitive damages and they are only ever awarded in the most serious of cases.  Continue reading →

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The New Jersey Supreme Court has expanded an earlier decision pertaining to “take-home toxic tort liability,” which is the assertion that companies can be responsible when their workers exposed to potentially harmful materials and take those materials home to their spouses. jeans

Now, in Schwartz v. Accuratus Corporation, justices ruled that potential liability can extend not just to the workers’ spouse, but also to roommates and unmarried romantic partners.

The ruling was issued at the behest of a federal court which is handling a case in which a woman in Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against a ceramics company where her husband and roommate were once employed. Plaintiff alleges she suffered severe illness in the form of chronic beryllium disease. It’s a condition that affects the lungs, and similar to mesothelioma, it’s caused by breathing in tiny toxic fibers and particles that are routinely found in industrial factories and other facilities.  Continue reading →

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The “every exposure” theory in asbestos litigation has been widely criticized and many judges have concluded it doesn’t pass muster in a court of law. The crux of it is that because no amount of exposure to asbestos is safe, every exposure to asbestos must be harmful. But simply showing a single exposure – or just a few exposures – to asbestos usually isn’t enough to win a personal injury or wrongful death case. gavel7

That means asbestos injury attorneys have to be prepared to introduce as much evidence as possible showing plaintiff endured a great deal of exposure. Failure to do so may result in an outcome like what was seen recently in Georgia in the case of Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc. v. Knight et al., in which the Georgia Supreme Court tossed a $4 million mesothelioma verdict, finding the use of the every exposure theory in trial was inadequate to prove defendant’s liability.

Specifically, the court ruled, plaintiff’s expert witness failed to analyze the extent of exposure in any sort of meaningful way and he also failed to qualify his opinion on causation by limiting it to such an estimate of exposure.  Continue reading →

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When we think about exposure to asbestos and the risk of mesothelioma, we might think the most at risk are those who work in the trades: The construction workers, the painters, the ship builders, the auto mechanics. openpitmine

Certainly, those groups see higher rates than others, particularly when they worked in the 50s, 60s and 70s, when asbestos was still commonplace in so many building materials and products. But as a new study has shown, the group with the highest rate of mesothelioma deaths in the world is in West Australia. Specifically, indigenous West Australians have the highest mortality rate for malignant mesothelioma in the world.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and terminal type of cancer that develops years after exposure to asbestos fibers, breathed into the lungs and scarring the delicate tissue lining of either the lungs or stomach. In most cases, illness and diagnosis occur many years – even decades – after exposure.  Continue reading →

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A recent news feature form Reuters looks at the relatively unknown reality that asbestos is not technically illegal in the U.S.  There was an attempt to ban asbestos in the late 1970s via a regulatory action by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but the muscle of these prohibitions were removed as the legislation was overturned by action of the U.S. Supreme Court by the early 1980s.

asbestosFor this reason, small amounts of asbestos are still being used in the U.S., and these small amounts may still be deadly to those exposed. As discussed in the news feature, the number of deaths and new mesothelioma cases has not gone down, as we would have hoped, despite a major reduction in the amount of asbestos being used. In fact, they have actually increased.   One thing to understand is that not all asbestos is the same – but all can be hazardous to your health.  Continue reading →

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Some defendants in asbestos litigation, facing crippling debt in the face of accountability for concealing the danger of their products and failing to protect the public, filed for bankruptcy and established trusts to pay out current and future claims.gavel21

More than 100 companies have filed for bankruptcy protection due in whole or in part to asbestos litigation, collectively containing about $20 billion in assets – and another $12 billion in assets pending, according to an analysis by Bates White Economic Consulting. It’s important for mesothelioma attorneys to keep careful tabs on how much is contained in these trusts because it plays a role in how much will be paid out per each individual claim.

Many of the bankrupted companies – and claimants – have relied on previous insurance policies to make good on claim payments. In fact, a 2015 report by rating agency A.M. Best Co. indicated the insurance industry has paid out more than $90 million in combined asbestos and environmental losses, and there is approximately $27 billion still available to fund future payments. This heavy reliance on the insurance industry makes it imperative to follow the cases that may have an impact on claimants’ ability to collect. Recently, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York recently ruled in Rapid-American Corp. et al. v. Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. et al. that providers of excess insurance to a now-bankrupt asbestos product manufacturer do not have to provide coverage unless and until the primary insurers have paid in full under those policies.  Continue reading →

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Asbestos litigation is complex. There are often more than a half dozen defendants. You’re dealing with facts and details that go back decades. Memories have faded. Records are lost. It’s a challenge to say the least. That’s why it’s imperative that you hire an asbestos injury law firm that is experienced and has a history of success on this front.gavel7

A recent case before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court illustrates some of the pitfalls that can arise in asbestos litigation.

In Grant v. Foster Wheeler, LLC, plaintiff – the estate of a man who died from mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos – appealed a trial court grant of summary judgment to defendants on claims of failure to warn of defective products, unreasonably dangerous goods, negligence and loss of consortium.  Continue reading →