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In a recent opinion from the California Court of Appeals – Fifth Appellate District, a civil jury had awarded the plaintiff’s family (surviving spouse and children) approximately $5.8 in connection with this his death from malignant mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is very rare form of cancer almost always associated with exposure to deadly asbestos fibers.  However, it should be noted that, while it is considered rare as compared to other types of cancers, thousands of people suffer and die each year in the United States alone from malignant mesothelioma.

asbestosIn this case, when making their finding of liability and assigning damages, the jury found that defendant was exposed to the deadly asbestos fibers from brakes.  However, the defendant appealed, arguing that the jury’s special verdict form indicated serious inconsistencies, the trial court erred when not giving certain proposed jury instructions, and the course erred also in allowing allegedly prejudicial evidence to be admitted. Continue reading →

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Every year in the U.S., approximately 15,000 Americans die as a result of asbestos-related diseases. This has been true since the 1930s, when it first became widely used in construction materials, ship building and automobile manufacturing. As it now stands 58 countries on this plant have banned the use of asbestos because they know – we all know – just how dangerous it is when the fibers are breathed in.cloverleaf

And yet, the U.S. is not among those nations because in 1991, a federal court overturned the ban on the substance imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, it seems like we might finally change course on this when last yea, President Barack Obama signed an amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act that would finally give the EPA the authority to prohibit the use of asbestos and ban asbestos imports. These plans were still moving ahead, despite Trump’s election.

But now, we have as the new head of the EPA a man named Scott Pruitt. There are a number of reasons for environmental advocates to be concerned about this pick, but one of those is the fact that Pruitt refused in a questionnaire from the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee to promise he would follow through with the asbestos ban.  Continue reading →

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The legal landscape of asbestos liability may soon change dramatically – and not in a way that benefits the plaintiffs suffering asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. Uscapitolbuilding

For several years now, lobbyists for the asbestos manufacturers and industries targeted for litigation due to negligently exposing workers and others to the toxin have been pushing the passage of a law that purports to “further asbestos claim transparency.” Now, that sounds like a nice measure – who doesn’t want more transparency in anything? However, the reality was these companies wanted to make it harder for plaintiffs to seek damages from more than one asbestos manufacturer for their injuries, even though we know these diseases can arise from exposure to the substance from multiple sources.

But the bills were never going to get very far, at least not while President Barack Obama was in office, because Obama had vowed to exercise his veto power, even if the measures passed both the House and Senate. Now, representatives are hoping President Donald Trump will be more receptive.  Continue reading →

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An investigation by reporters in Georgia revealed that the state agency in charge of enforcing asbestos regulations fails to make certain that those removing the dangerous substance are actually licensed to do so. That’s because the program was de-funded six years ago. This lack of basic enforcement, say victim advocates, puts residents and the general public at grave risk of developing diseases associated with asbestos exposure – including mesothelioma. asbestos

One of the men who has been affected is in 2015 was diagnosed with mesothelioma. For the last several years, he worked six days every week at a heating and cooling company. At his most recent doctor’s visit, he was given between six and eight months left to live. Mesothelioma, of course, is caused by exposure to asbestos. The man has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers he believes ares responsible for his exposure to the substance while he was working on residential projects in the Atlanta region some two decades ago. The father-of-two lamented the fact that his condition was terminal, and he would likely die before he saw the companies responsible for the toxic exposure held to account.

Of course, most homes build prior 1978 use some type of asbestos in the joint compound in the wallboards. However, most people have no idea because asbestos doesn’t have any distinct odor or taste. The real risk of exposure occurs when the substance is disturbed and the fibers are kicked up in the air and breathed in. This is especially concerning when you consider that in driving through older neighborhoods in that city at any given time, one is likely to see dozens of these older residences under construction. If the asbestos removal work isn’t done properly by licensed contractors, it increases the risk that not only are the workers being exposed to the toxin, but so too are the neighbors.  Continue reading →

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The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania (one of two intermediate appellate courts in the state) recently ruled that a school board can be potentially liable for the mesothelioma suffered by a math teacher who was allegedly exposed to the toxic fibers at the school. school

According to court records in the case, the subject of the underlying matter worked as a high school math teacher who worked at the district from 1958 to 1959 – basically one full school year. During this time, she was exposed to asbestos dust coming from pipe coverings on the steam and water pipes that were in the hallways, stairs and classrooms of the school.

More than five decades past when the teacher, long since retired, was diagnosed with mesothelioma. She and her husband filed a personal injury lawsuit against the school district and 40 other defendants, including those responsible for making, distributing, selling, supplying, installing and removing asbestos products. Plaintiff alleged it was her occupational exposure to the dust, caused by defendants’ acts and/ or omissions, that resulted in her injuries. Her husband also claimed loss of consortium.  Continue reading →

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The governor of Ohio has just signed a measure into law that will grant firefighters in that state the right to file a workers’ compensation claim if they are diagnosed with cancer – including mesothelioma. The measure creates a rebutable presumption that when a fire department employee is diagnosed with cancer, it stemmed from an on-the-job activity. That means it will be up to the employer to refute that presumption with solid evidence if it wants to deny the claim. firefighter

The change in state law was introduced last year, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and will simplify the process for firefighters seeking to recover their pension and workers’ compensation benefits if they receive a cancer diagnosis.

The bill was by no means a shoe-in. The bill, S.B. 27, passed only after the fourth time it was introduced for consideration by state lawmakers. The bill is named after a fire department captain in Northeast Ohio who developed brain cancer in two years ago, and had to struggle to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.  Continue reading →

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BorgWarner Inc., a Michigan-based company that supplies turborcharger and emissions systems to the auto industry, recently reported a one-time charge of $411 million, which it is setting aside for future asbestos exposure liability claims. gear

That’s according to Crain’s Detroit Business, which reports the charge resulted in a net loss in the company’s fourth quarter of $293 million.

Now of course, this might sound like a lot, but consider that the company’s revenue during that quarter rose by more than 6 percent to $2.3 billion, from $2.1 billion just a year earlier. A big part of that was owing to a 20 percent increase in drivetrain division sales. Net revenue for the year is up to $9.1 billion. When you consider this, that $411 million seems far less substantial, especially when noting how many thousands of asbestos injury claims are likely to arise in the coming years. The supplier figured the $411 million by calculating its estimated costs for indemnity and defense of pending and future asbestos-related claims, which could stretch into the next five decades.  Continue reading →

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The government contractor defense was accepted in a recent asbestos liability lawsuits out of California. The decision by a state appellate court breaks with a ruling by the federal Ninth Circuit. navy

The government contractor defense shields the federal government’s exercise of discretion and judgment in contract specifications and designs. It can be raised by government contractor defendants in certain product liability lawsuits, such as those pertaining to asbestos exposure. It’s often used by companies that provide products that have some type of military application, though matters can get complicated when the product in question is sold to both the government and the general public.

The California case involves a man who was exposed to asbestos insulation while working on nuclear submarines in the early 1970s. The insulation product was called Unibestos, and it’s been available for decades. In 1936, the U.S. Navy started using the product in its vessels because of its high resistance to heat. Although ads for the product indicated it was “available everywhere,” there is no evidence as to how much of the product was sold commercially.  Continue reading →

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Toward the end of the Obama administration, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added asbestos to a list of dangerous or hazardous chemicals.  The significance of this new law was the EPA would be able to allocate more money toward the prevention of asbestos-related illnesses, such as malignant mesothelioma.

asbestosWhile asbestos is not used anywhere as near is much as it once was, it still poses a significant danger, and the number of asbestos cases are actually going up each year, according to recent statistics.  As it stands now, there are thousands of deaths from mesothelioma each year in the U.S. alone. Continue reading →

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According to a recent news article from The Garden Island, inspectors have discovered a large amount of asbestos at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.   Hawaii is very important in terms of America’s involvement in the Second World War.  This of course was the site of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which caused the United States to enter the war in the Pacific Theater of Operations. As a result, there are many war monuments and museums on the Hawaiian Islands.

boilerOne of these war memorials is located in Kauai and there is a large convection hall attached to the monument as well, which is frequented by both locals and businesses that host events on the property.  According to reports, one of the caretakers of the facility first became concerned that there was asbestos in the flooring tiles and that its presence could be dangerous to those who frequent the building. Continue reading →