Articles Posted in Asbestos Exposure

There is a common misconception that long-term cigarette smokers don’t have a claim for asbestos exposure in the event of a mesothelioma or lung cancer diagnosis.railroad-300x225

But Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) is only the latest and most recent example of a corporate defendant losing that argument. Last week, an Appeals Court rejected the company’s appeal of a $2.3 million jury award after the jury rejected Contrail’s argument that cigarette smoking was solely responsible for the plaintiff’s lung cancer, despite extensive exposure to asbestos on the job. The justices ruled the victim had met his legal burden of proof by presenting enough evidence to show exposure to asbestos was a substantial contributing factor to his cancer.

That’s the legal requirement: Substantial contributing factor. While a victim’s own negligent behavior (like smoking) may be taken into account, it does not absolve a defendant from all liability.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first new treatment for mesothelioma in more than 15 years.

NovoTTF-100L System (Novocure), in combination with pemetrexed plus platinum-based chemotherapy, has been approved as a first-line treatment for cases of unresectable locally advanced or metastatic malignant pleural mesothelioma. Mesothelioma’s long latency period means most victims have in an advanced stage upon diagnosis. Cases that are locally advanced, or which ave spread to other organs, are typically deemed inoperable. Boston asbestos attorney

The NovoTTF-100L System is non-invasive. The treatment uses electric fields, known as Tumor Treating Fields, to disrupt cancer-cell division. Approval followed the STELLAR trial, which evaluated effectiveness of the treatment. Our Massachusetts mesothelioma lawyers know such treatment innovations are critical because fewer than 20 percent of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma are candidates for surgical tumor removal due to diagnosis at an advanced stage of the disease.

The clinical trial, held at cancer centers across Europe, included 80 patients with unresectable, previously untreated, malignant pleural mesothelioma. The results were presented in September 2018 at the 19th annual World Conference on Lung Cancer.

“NovoTTF-100L provides unresectable MPM patients with a treatment option that may improve survival,” said Mary Hesdorffer,  executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. Results showed that patients treated with NovoTTF-100L plus chemotherapy had a median overall survival of 18.2 months (95% CI 12.1-25.8), while median progression free survival (secondary endpoint) was 7.6 months. Those results are about six months longer than for those patients who only receive chemotherapy treatment.

While such treatment advances are welcome, it is the work being done in the courtroom to hold these companies responsible that will ultimately do the most to protect American consumers.

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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

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:

treatment mesothelioma

  • 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

Asbestosis and mesothelioma are two separate and distinct conditions that can occur from the same exposure to deadly asbestos fibers. Asbestosis is known to be more of a chronic condition, while mesothelioma is more aggressive and also undoubtedly terminal. In some jurisdictions, courts have allowed for a separate cause of action with each diagnosis, as asbestosis sometimes (but not always) precedes mesothelioma. asbestos exposure attorney

Recently, a federal court in Missouri became one to explicitly reject this “two-injury” rule. According to The St. Louis Record, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District rejected the claims by plaintiffs who asserted wrongful death damages as a result of asbestos exposure suffered by their father. Plaintiffs were suing an Irish company called Ingersoll-Rand, an industrial manufacturing company, alleging their father’s exposure to the deadly fibers occurred when he worked as a civilian marine machinist for the U.S. Navy in Boston, Mass. in the last 1950s and early 1960s. He was the original plaintiff, but when he died, his daughters took over his legal action.

The father’s personal injury claims for asbestos exposure leading to asbestosis were filed in a Massachusetts state court, but ended in summary judgment favoring the defendant in 2009. Plaintiff then filed a separate action for mesothelioma after he received that diagnosis. Defendants sought to have the mesothelioma lawsuit dismissed on the basis of the common law doctrine of collateral estoppel, which essentially prevents a person from re-litigating the same issue.  Continue reading

Asbestos was once heavily mined in the U.S., primarily in western states such as Montana, as well as in Canada’s provinces, where conditions are ideal for asbestos formation.  This is one thing of which many people are no longer aware.  Asbestos was used by many factories in their own equipment and it was used to manufacture a variety of industrial, construction, and even consumer products, but the material itself is a mineral mined from the earth.

asbestos lawsuits BostonAsbestos forms in the same conditions as talc and vermiculite, which is why we have also seen asbestos contamination in those materials as well.  There is also the possibility talc itself can cause ovarian cancer and other serious reproductive problems in women, who are more likely than men to use talcum powder products. Continue reading

For over a hundred years, asbestos was used in most aspects of construction, production, and manufacturing. Those in the industry were well aware of the dangers their products posed to workers and consumers, but they were willing to not only ignore those risks, but also to take great efforts to hide the dangers from those being most affected.  They did this because they were making huge profits from using asbestos material, and they also knew it would take decades for the average person exposed to asbestos to become sick enough to go to a doctor and find out what was wrong with them. Once they went to a doctor for a diagnosis, the deadly cancer was likely in the end stage and patients were told they had only a very short time left to live.

Boston asbestos attorneyWhile we would expect there to be a reduction in malignant mesothelioma diagnoses in recent years as asbestos is no longer used to the extent it once was, we are still seeing thousands of new cases each year. One of the reasons for this is because asbestos installed decades ago, which once was very harmful to the workers, is now in a state of decay where it is once again exposing people to deadly asbestos fibers. Continue reading

Over the last 30 years, it’s estimated nearly 1,000 companies have filed for bankruptcy protection largely thanks to their status as defendants in thousands of asbestos injury lawsuits. Most filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy status and have made efforts to reorganize, as well as establish trust pursuant to 11 U.S.C. 524(g), from which current and future asbestos injury plaintiffs can draw. Between 2003 and 2016, industry analysts say these companies and their insurers paid nearly $40 billion to the trust system, growing from 14 active trusts in 2004 to 58 by the close of 2016. These trusts are established with the intention of preserving assets for future and current claimants, relying on projections of near- and long-term claim filing and payment rates in order to manage the flow of money.mesothelioma attorney

In recent years, a number of federal and state-level legislative actions have targeted victims of mesothelioma, often specifically citing the payouts of these trusts, in calling for “greater transparency.” Ultimately, these are efforts to slow plaintiffs down and limit what they can recover.

Let’s take for example the measure being mulled in New Hampshire. Continue reading