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2018 brought some advances in treatment and some legal victories for mesothelioma victims and their advocates.

The liability of Johnson & Johnson over asbestos contaminated talcum powder was probably the biggest headline of the year. But our Massachusetts mesothelioma lawyers have noted a number of legal and medical victories this year.talcumpowder-300x225

The Johnson & Johnson case illustrates why litigation is a primary threat to these companies. Internal documents, memos, emails and other evidence continue to show defendant companies often ignored or supressed evidence, while marketing their deadly products as safe for use by consumers. In 2016, J & J and other defendants suffered three large verdicts for exposure to its baby powder in St. Louis, Mo.: $72 million, $70 million and $55 million. In 2017, the American Bar Association identified talcum powder liability as a material threat to defendants and the insurance industry.

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Trust funds may already be available for victims of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.

Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. With a latency period of 30-40 years, most diagnosed are senior citizens exposed to asbestos in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s. A naturally-occurring mineral used for its insulating and fire-retardant properties, its carcinogenic properties were hidden for decades by some of the nation’s largest corporations. At the height of asbestos use, American corporations mined nearly 1 million tons of the mineral and used it to manufacture more than 3,000 different products.gavel-300x199

Unfortunately for victims, time is often far too short after diagnosis. Those diagnosed have a median survival of just 18 months. Having access to a trust fund can provide assurance and peace of mind. However, asbestos litigation is among the most complex areas of product liability, personal injury and wrongful death law.

New England military veterans and shipyard workers face some of the highest risks when it comes to being diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports about 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma a year will be diagnosed in the United States.navyasbestos-300x225

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a common construction material used for decades before the deadly fiber’s carcinogenic properties were fully known and disclosed to the public. The Environmental Protection Agency banned new uses in 1989. But to this day it’s a material commonly found in many older buildings. Believed relatively harmless if left undisturbed, the dangers come when asbestos tiles, insulation or other material crumbles, frays or otherwise becomes airborne. The latency period between exposure and diagnosis is typically 30-40 years, with average age at diagnosis being 59 years old in the United States.

In a departure from standard mesothelioma treatment practices in the United States, the British Thoracic Society has published new treatment guidelines that recommend against radical surgical options.

The Mesothelioma Management Guidelines just published by the British Thoracic Society now recommend against aggressive surgery to treat advanced mesothelioma.The decision follows an analysis of the potential harm and poor outcomes experienced by patients undergoing extra pleural pneumonectomy (EPP), extended pleurectomy and decortication (P/D), and partial pleurectomy (PP), which are frequently offered in the United States. The British society makes an exception when such procedures are being conducted as part of a specific study or clinical trial. A recent report in the Clinical Respiratory Journal, which correlated hundreds of previous studies and clinical trials, concluded such aggressive surgical options were not providing enough benefits to offset adverse effects. The new guidelines explicitly recommend against offering EPP at all pleural mesothelioma patients, against offering EPD unless as part of a clinical trial, and that radiation therapy should only be used with the goal of offering pain relief and quality of life improvement rather than for a curative approach.

The issue illustrates the challenge in finding appropriate treatment options to treat this aggressive cancer.hospital-6-1518170-300x200

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In most cases, asbestos exposure occurs when a person is working in an environment where deadly asbestos fibers are present. Decades ago when asbestos was used in a wide variety of industries, millions of workers were exposed to asbestos while working in factories or working on construction projects, not to mention the countless number of workers who were exposed while working in the asbestos mining and production industry.

Boston mesothelioma Lawyers There are however some cases where asbestos exposure occurred due to exposure from common products found in the home.  In these cases, we are often dealing with children who were exposed at a young age, and then became very sick much earlier in life than typical mesothelioma plaintiffs in the Greater Boston area. Continue reading

According to a recent News Article from The Guardian, Johnson & Johnson has been found liable in a class action lawsuit in which 22 women alleged to have developed ovarian cancer after years of using talc products manufactured by the defendant.  In this case, the jury awarded $4.7 billion in damages to the various plaintiffs.

asbestos exposure attorneyCourt records indicated six of the 22 plaintiffs died from ovarian cancer, and the jury was convinced by allegations Johnson & Johnson took conscious efforts to cover up the fact that there was asbestos present in many of the company’s products through more than four decades of marketing them to consumers. Continue reading

For more than a hundred years beginning with the Industrial Revolution in the United States and parts of Europe, asbestos was used in many industries including manufacturing, residential, commercial, and industrial construction, and countless other applications. At first, asbestos was used for its excellent ability to withstand extreme heat, fire, caustic chemicals, and electricity.

Boston AsbestosIt was actually around 2,000 years ago when humans first discovered these properties, and began to extract the naturally occurring silica-based minerals from the ground, and even at this time, there were historical documents uncovered showing there was a concern the substance could be toxic.  While it wasn’t until 1924 when the first case of mesothelioma was officially diagnosed, it was known that people exposed were dying decades later.   As discussed in an scientific article from the British Medical Journal, this discovery came from research on the hazards then being linked to what was still being referred to as the magic mineral. Continue reading

Many homes in Boston were built over a hundred years ago, and renovated many decades ago, if they were renovated at all. Many homes renovated between the 1950s and the 1980s feature what has been called a popcorn ceiling. Even if you do not have a popcorn ceiling in your home now, you have likely seen one.  They are created by spraying on or painting on a textured level giving it a popcorn-like look. There are a few claimed reasons this was done, from reducing noise from people walking above, which was helpful in any multi-family dwelling, to making it much harder to see any imperfections in the ceiling plaster or drywall.  A large ceiling space, which is flat, will easily show off any imperfections in the material.

Mesothelioma LawyersThe main reason, however, they were so heavily used is because they became very popular in the 1960s,and this continued until the late 1970s.  The problem with ceilings today, aside from looking outdated, is the popcorn material was largely created with white asbestos fibers.  This made it very dangerous to those who were painting the ceilings and many of these victims developed the deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma decades later as it will typically take between 20 and 50 years for those exposed to asbestos to develop symptoms, forcing them to go to a doctor for a diagnosis. Continue reading

Mesothelioma lawsuits in Boston are significantly different from many other types of personal injury lawsuits and products liability actions. One of the major reasons deals with when the injury is discovered and when a suit can be brought. In most personal injury cases, the statute of limitations begins to run as soon as the injury occurs.   The specific statutes of limitations for various civil actions are found in Chapter 260 of the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.).

asbestos BostonFor example, pursuant to Section 2A of the M.G.L., a tort action for a personal injury lawsuit filed in Boston must be brought within three years of when the cause of action arises, which is usually the time of the injury or onset of the illness.  Continue reading

In most personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiffs (victims) are able to fully participate in their case and appear at deposition or as a witness at trial. This is often true even in serious Boston personal injury lawsuits after plaintiff has undergone numerous surgeries and an extended hospital stay.  In Boston mesothelioma lawsuits, however, plaintiffs are very sick people who sadly for the most part will not survive the duration of a civil lawsuit filed in federal court or the Suffolk Superior Court. That does not mean such cases aren’t worth pursuing. We can often arrange an immediate deposition and thereafter minimize the involvement of the plaintiff. Even if plaintiff never personally sees the conclusion of the case, they are often still worth pursuing.

Mesothelioma lawsuits are about:

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  • Ensuring your family/ loved ones are financial secure, given the fact that you have died an untimely death caused by someone else’s negligence that left you unable to continue your contributions;
  • Holding accountable those companies or individuals that profited by deceiving the public and concealing the known dangers of their product;
  • Being a lesson to other businesses and individuals about the price they will pay for marketing dangerous products.

Our dedicated attorneys for asbestos injury plaintiffs are committed to helping walk individuals and families through this difficult and sometimes confusing process.  Continue reading