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.
While 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.
A recent news feature from the Times Free Press discuss one woman’s struggle to ban asbestos after her husband was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. As discussed in the article, he has since died from the deadly asbestos-related illness and was not around to see the new bill signed into law last month. As our Boston asbestos injury lawyers can explain, many people who are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma do not survive long enough to see the results of their mesothelioma litigation. The reason for this is because of the rapid nature of the disease and how it is often not detectable until it is at a very advanced stage.
However, this does not mean that the case will end if the plaintiff does not survive the process. What happens in this situation is that a surviving family member such as the spouse or a child will open a probate estate in the name of the decedent and become the personal representative (executor or executrix) and carry on the lawsuit in the name of the decedent. At this point, if the family member is a spouse, he or might also be able to file a direct claim for loss of consortium. It should be noted that this remedy is not always available as the facts are never exactly the same in any two cases, and you should speak with your attorney about your actual situation.
Even with asbestos largely out of routine use, it was not completely banned. As noted in the article, asbestos could still be used if it was encased in construction materials. For example, if I hold a new shingle in my hand that contains asbestos, but that asbestos is completely sealed inside, I would be in no danger of inhaling those fibers. However, when I drill a screw or hammer a nail into that shingle to secure it to a roof, I may be exposed to those deadly fibers. When the shingle becomes old, or friable as it is known in the industry, it will crumble and give off dust that contains the deadly fibers.
This is what the advocate interviewed as part of this article was fighting to change in light of her husband’s diagnosis with mesothelioma and his subsequent death from the awful, yet completely preventable disease.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Asbestos to be banned, but not before Wendy Roberts lost her husband, July 24, 2016, Times Free Press, By Linda Edwards
More Blog Entries:
Grant v. Foster Wheeler, LLC – Proof of Asbestos Defendants’ Products as Proximate Cause of Injury, July 5, 2016, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog