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Malignant mesothelioma is considered a rare disease.  Compared to the number of people that get diagnosed with diabetes, for example, it is a very rare disease.  However, to the roughly 3,000 people who are diagnosed in the United States with malignant mesothelioma and told they only have a short time to live, the fact that it is rare is of little comfort.  In fact, the opposite is generally true.  With malignant mesothelioma being so rare, it is considered an orphan disease, which essentially means there is little profit in working towards a cure.  If more people got malignant mesothelioma each year, and the drug companies smelled profit, we might be a lot closer to a real cure.

mlJATEQHowever, before we can discuss a cure, it is important to understand what malignant mesothelioma actually is.  A recent news feature from Healio takes a look at this issue. As discussed in this article, malignant mesothelioma first occurs in a layer of cells known as the mesothelium.  This layer of cells is present in most internal organs of the human body.  We typically see the cancer occurring in the pericardial mesothelium, which is in the chest, the peritoneal mesothelium, which is in the stomach, and pleural mesothelium, which is in the lungs.  However, we can also find malignant mesothelioma in the mesotheliomas of the tunica vaginalis, which form the beginning of the testicular lining. However, it should be noted that once mesothelioma forms in one of these areas, it can quickly spread to the rest of the body. Continue reading →

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We have recently been hearing about asbestos and mesothelioma a lot lately in terms of how President Barack Obama and some members of Congress are using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finally ban the sale, manufacture, and importation of asbestos. Now, the latest asbestos trouble may be hitting close to home for our federal lawmakers.

openpitmineWhile many people believe asbestos was banned in the U.S. in the late 1970s, that is not exactly accurate.  There was a ban on the use of all asbestos products to be enforced by the EPA, but it was not done with the full assistance of Congress.  There was a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of this asbestos ban, and the Supreme Court ultimately overturned the asbestos ban on grounds that it was unconstitutional.  This is not to say that Congress could not create such a ban, but the manner in which it was done back then was not constitutional.

Now, officials are trying to do something to close this regulatory loophole.

Continue reading →

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In recent years, we have been seeing more and more cases of malignant mesothelioma where the victim did not necessarily have direct contact with traditional sources of asbestos but did have contact with talcum powder.  It is believed the talcum powder contained asbestos, and this is due to a variety of sources.

anthophyllite-with-talc-and-do-1539018As discussed in a recent news feature from the Montgomery Advertiser, natural talcum powder has been shown to contain asbestos in some cases.  Talc is a mineral that is made up of magnesium, silicon, hydrogen, and oxygen.  While many people think asbestos is man-made, it is also a mineral and is also made up largely of silica.  It also formed in the Earth in the same conditions and locations as talc and vermiculite.  Vermiculite has also been shown to contain detectable and dangerous levels of asbestos. Continue reading →

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According to a recent news article from the National Law Review, the court of appeals in New York has ruled on a defendant’s duty to warn a potential plaintiff of the dangers of asbestos exposure.  Specially, the question is whether the manufacturer of a non-asbestos product has a duty to warn others of the dangers of asbestos exposure because their product contains a third-party’s part, and that part contains asbestos.

gavel21While this seems rather complex, it makes more sense when we take a look at some of the facts of the case.  In that case, plaintiff worked on boilers as a technician for the United States Navy for all of the 1960s and most of the 1970s.  In his complaint, plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to deadly asbestos fibers as result of working around insulation on high heat steam valves on the boilers on which he worked.  He was suing, among others, the company that manufactured these valves.  Continue reading →

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Certain parts of the country have been ravaged by years of unregulated industry, and the asbestos industry was responsible for much of this environmental destruction.  To help clean up these toxic waste zones, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the power to use money provided by Congress to create what are known as EPA superfunds.

oldfactoryOne such fund is the Suburbs of Philadelphia as discussed in a recent news feature from E&E Publishing.  Most people are aware the United States was for many years the world’s largest producer of asbestos and asbestos products.

For many years, Philadelphia housed one of the world’s largest asbestos factories.  The factory, which started as a boiler plant (boilers used asbestos insulation for many years), still has hundred foot mountains of asbestos and manufacturing waste that surround the area and look like salt and gravel piles we typically see on the side of a highway covered with large domes. Continue reading →

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R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Stidham involved plaintiffs who were diagnosed with lung cancer that attempted to join a single lawsuit against the tobacco companies and the producers of asbestos and asbestos products. These plaintiffs asserted that their cancers were the result of both exposures to deadly asbestos fibers as well from years of tobacco smoking.

cigarette-1478450This is not the first time that plaintiffs sued both the cigarette manufacturers and the asbestos companies together, but in this case, there were procedural challenges.  In this jurisdiction, asbestos cases are tried on a special asbestos docket. Continue reading →

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As you may have heard, last month President Barack Obama signed a bill into law that allows the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to more easily ban toxic substances, including deadly asbestos fibers. This bill was one of the few bills in recent history that received bipartisan support.

lungsWhile many people think asbestos was banned in the late 1970s, what they may not realize is that the EPA’s ban was overturned a few years later by the U.S. Supreme Court on grounds that this type of ban could not be accomplished exclusively by an executive agency without the support of Congress.  This is not to say that it was unconstitutional to ban asbestos, but rather the way in which it was done was the problem. Continue reading →

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In Scapa Dryer Fabrics, Inc. v. Knight, a case from the Supreme Court of Georgia, defendant was a textile maker that produced a product known as dryer felts.  These are the felt liners that are placed on the doors or door opening of clothes dryers to keep the heat inside thasbestose machine when they are operating. They made these dryer felts during the 1970s at one of their factories.

According to court documents, plaintiff worked at this factory from the late 1960s through the early to mid 1970s, and this factory contained boilers and pipes that were lined with asbestos insulation.  Asbestos yarn was also used in the manufacture of some of its products, including the dyer felt. Continue reading →

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There is no question that being diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma is about one of the worst things a patient can hear.  For the vast majority of patients, they have very little time to left to live, so it is basically the same as receiving a death sentence.  In most cases, the patient will not survive for more than a period of three years following an initial diagnosis.

senateThe reason for this is because once a person begins to suffer the symptoms – shortness of breath, chest pain, stomach pain, or any of the others = the malignant mesothelioma is normally in a very advanced stage.  Continue reading →

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Despite a ruling by the California Supreme Court in favor of defendant in Webb v. Special Electric, the case was still ultimately decided in favor of plaintiff upon remand. gavel21

The state high court’s ruling in this asbestos injury lawsuit involved something called the “sophisticated intermediary doctrine.” This ruling provided an additional viable defense for defendants in product liability lawsuits, such as those filed against makers and distributors of products that contained toxic asbestos.

Even so, plaintiff in the case prevailed.  Continue reading →