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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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A judge in Delaware overseeing asbestos litigation was frustrated with the voluminous case load on her docket, and as a result, severely and unjustly punished a plaintiff attorney for a procedural mistake, according to that state’s supreme court. gavel.jpg

The justices called the judge’s frustration understandable, but nonetheless reversed the sanctions.

Boston mesothelioma lawyers know that the volume of litigation that’s being processed with regard to asbestos-related diseases is a direct result of the negligence inflicted by companies that used the toxic compound because it was cheap – without regard to the safety of workers or consumers. This has resulted in thousands of mesothelioma diagnoses and deaths.

According to media reports, a superior court judge fined an attorney $25,000 for arguing points against a request for a summary judgment using a ruling in a case that had already been denied and subsequently settled.

The case he cited, McNulty v. Anchor Packing Co., involved an anchor packing company based in Pennsylvania. The company manufactured hydraulic packings, rings, seals, gaskets and soft packing. It was later revealed that these products contained cancer-causing asbestos materials. Not only did this put Anchor’s employees at risk, the products’ use in naval ship yards sickened numerous veterans at as well. Anchor later became a subsidiary of Garlock Sealing Technologies, which has been cited in multiple asbestos litigation cases as well.

The attorney’s error in this case was a technical one, and he later said that he made the mistake in good faith, indicating he hadn’t realized the case he had cited had already been settled. But the judge countered that she was far too busy to tolerate such mistakes. She said the attorney had made such mistakes in the past and had not been called out on it.

She said that, at best, it amounted to “laziness” and that the attorney had a responsibility to confirm the accuracy of arguments prior to presenting them in court. At worst, she said it was an attempt to mislead the court.

She maintained that the fine may have seemed substantial, but it wasn’t when taken in the larger context of the large amounts typically doled out in mesothelioma cases.

The supreme court later ruled that the judge had made the ruling without giving the attorney ample opportunity to respond to the allegation and without regard to whether or not the attorney could actually pay it.

The court further said that it appeared the penalties were inflicted as a result of the judge’s concern that the attorney’s actions would cause her additional issues in future cases, and she wanted to curb it now.

But this, the justices stated, was not a valid legal substantiation for the fine. In the end, the justices ruled that there was not a significant enough finding that the attorney had tainted the efficiency or fairness of the process.

This situation highlights the bigger issue, which is how important it is to choose an attorney who can be effective and on-point. The error in this case may not have been intentional, but it could potentially harm your case.
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