Articles Tagged with asbestos exposure

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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 →

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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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According to the The Huffington Post, asbestos in classrooms has become a major problem across the country. Schools are reportedly not handling the problem well.  The reporter notes that any older school building likely has asbestos, and some of that asbestos could be harming your children.

asbestosTo get an idea of how bad the problem has become, we can first look at data collected by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the mid 1980s.  At that time, the EPA released an estimate that more than 100,000 grade schools contained asbestos and over 700,000 public buildings did as well in the U.S.  As if this was not bad enough, they estimated that of those 100,000 schools slightly more than a third of them contained friable asbestos. Continue reading →

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Asbestos is a deadly substance. When a person ingests or inhales the fibers that escape into the air or a source of drinking water, they can become lodged in a layer of tissue known as the mesothelium where they can cause malignant mesothelioma.  Once the American public became fully aware of the dangers of asbestos, there was a push for Congress to outlaw the deadly substance.  By the late 1970s, a bill had made its way through congress and the mining, manufacture, and importation of asbestos was banned in the U.S.

ussupremecourt2Those in the asbestos industry fought this tooth and nail.  Even though there was not much of a market for asbestos material in the U.S., they still wanted to manufacture asbestos products and export them for use in the developing nations that did not have environmental control agencies or a large concern for public health.  In other words, since these companies could no longer make millions of dollars killing American workers and their families, they would try to make money poisoning people oversees. Continue reading →

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During much of the industrial revolution in the United States and Western Europe, companies mined asbestos and companies that processed asbestos into manufactured goods were well aware of the dangers their product was causing to tens of thousands of workers and their families each year.  There was no question about the dangers of asbestos by the early 20th century.

senateHowever, these companies not only knew that asbestos caused cancer, later named mesothelioma, but they also learned that it would take between 20 and 50 years for a person to develop symptoms of the disease and go to a doctor for a diagnosis.  Once a person is diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma or any other type of mesothelioma, they normally have less than two years to live, even with the most aggressive treatment plan available.  Continue reading →

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According to a recent news article from the Worcester Patch, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed a roughly $52,000 fine against a property owner in connection with alleged asbestos violations while he was renovating his three-decker apartment building in Worcester, Massachusetts.

rubble-1432323-mMassDEP officials said they were responding to complaints from an unknown source when they began their investigation into potential asbestos violations at the apartment building.  The complainant described seeing a pile of renovation waste outside of the home and believed that it contained asbestos fibers. Continue reading →

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For the improper handling of toxic material resulting in asbestos danger in Massachusetts, four affiliated firms agreed to pay $129,000 in fines. However, half of that cost will be deferred if the affiliates can manage to avoid any further environmental trouble, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. constructionsite

The settlement stems from a Suffolk Superior Court case filed in July 2014 against Patriots Environmental, an Oxford-based firm with affiliates there and also in Charlton and Worcester.

According to the government’s allegations, Patriots Environmental flouted safety regulations and proper procedures in the removal of asbestos from a residential home in Sturbridge. This is the kind of thing that exposes workers, homeowners, guests and even members of the general public to an unnecessary risk of a potentially fatal disease. Asbestosis and mesothelioma are caused by exposure to asbestos particles in the air, and it is well-established that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.  Continue reading →

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A recent news feature from the Huffington Post takes a look the additional hurdles faced by military veterans who are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma.  There is no question there are many ways soldiers die while bravely serving our country.  We have seen soldiers and sailors killed in firefights with an enemy, killed by a roadside improvised explosive device (IED), or killed in one of many kinds of accidents that happen all the time in what they refer to as the fog of war.

854357_battleship_wisconsin-218x300When a soldier or sailor manages to survive all of these dangerous scenarios and gets older, it would seem that the chance of dying a service-related death is over.  However, with the fact that asbestos was heavily used by the United States military, and the fact that it typically takes between 20 years and 50 years for a patient to be diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, this is not always the case. Continue reading →

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According to a news article from CBS Boston, a plumber in Worcester has been convicted on child endangerment charges.  The facts as alleged by prosecutors were that defendant hired a teenage worker to remove asbestos insulation.  This teenage worker was not trained in asbestos removal or properly certified and was not provided with any protective clothing or a respirator/ventilator as required by Massachusetts law.

rustypipes-300x225The 43-year-old plumber allegedly violated numerous regulations (worker safety and environmental) during the course of this illegal asbestos abatement job.  He was hired to replace two very old boilers that were in the basement of the Worcester home.  These boilers were covered with asbestos insulation, which was very common in boilers manufactured during the time period in which they were produced and installed in the home. Continue reading →