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Month: May 2013

News

County to Survey Historic Buildings for Lead Paint and Asbestos

Victoria County has to evaluate 3 historic buildings for lead paint and asbestos before it can go ahead with plans for expanding the courtroom. On Tuesday, the Commissioners Court approved spending $18500 with an engineering firm called Professional Service Industries (PSI) on 3 hazardous material surveys on: Victoria County Historic Jail (210 West Constitution); historic firehouse at 209 West Forrest Street; and 1842 spa building at 103 South Glass Street. The commissioners also voted for engaging Rawley McCoy for studying the courtroom project and comparing costs.

The study by McCoy would cost a maximum of $20000.

Both the studies put Victoria County on the right track for adding space for the jam-packed judicial system in which 8 judges share 4 courtrooms.

Don Pozzi, the County Judge, says his aim is to keep the extra courtrooms also in the very same block as the 115 North Bridge Street courthouse.

As it needs high skill and care to deal with asbestos, any works involving the substance are time-consuming as well as costly. Authorized professionals are only allowed to handle asbestos.

According to the county, the jail survey would cost nearly $12000. The estimated cost for the spa survey is $4000. And, the firehouse survey is expected to cost approximately $2500.

Kevin Janak, one of the County Commissioners, said that the spa bldg. was constructed prior to the American Civil War (fought between 1861 and 1865). As the dangerous features of asbestos were not known then, it was extensively used as a construction material. For this reason, majority of the historic buildings contain asbestos. It was only in the 1980s that the use of asbestos began to be restricted and regulated. Asbestos is not banned still. However, now there are strict regulations to be followed while handling asbestos. Asbestos is a carcinogen and it can be deadly if the material is disturbed or broken. For this reason, prior to the renovation or demolition of any asbestos-containing structure, the material has to be removed safely.

According to Pozzi, the Texas State Historical Commission is asking the Victoria County for renovating the spa building. But, he says, the court would look at all possible options. Pozzi said the studies will help determine the costs for removing the dangerous materials present in the historic buildings.

The historic jail is now being used by the office of the sheriff, whereas, the maintenance department of the county is using the firehouse.

News

Woman Exposed to Asbestos through Husband’s Work Clothes Develops Malignant Mesothelioma

New Orleans, Louisiana – A woman from Greenville (MS) is suing a number of companies for allegedly contributing to her malignant mesothelioma by exposing her to dangerous fibers of asbestos.

Elizabeth G Sutherland has filed a suit against McCarty Corporation, Taylor Seidenbach, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co, Liberty Mutual Insurance Co, Eagle Inc., Arrowood Indemnity Co, Anco Insulation, and Alma Plantation on 11th March in the Central District Court in Orleans Parish.

Sutherland says she was exposed to asbestos fibres through the work clothes of her husband, who inhaled and was exposed to asbestos as well as asbestos-containing products. As a result of this exposure, she developed malignant mesothelioma, according to the suit.

The suit alleges that the companies knew the dangers of asbestos and materials containing asbestos, but failed to properly warn the petitioner and workers including her husband about the potential hazards of exposure to the mineral. The companies failed to provide workers with proper safety equipment, the suit says. The defendants also failed to set up general ventilation to create a safe working environment in the work areas, Sutherland alleges. The companies did not either warn the employees that asbestos fibres could be carried home by them through their work clothes and that could cause their family members to be secondarily exposed to the cancer-causing fibers, the lawsuit states. The companies are also being sued for manufacturing, distributing and selling products containing a known and dangerous carcinogen such as asbestos.

The plaintiff suffered physical pain, incurred huge medical costs and lost her earning capacity because of the disease, the plaintiff argues. She is seeking an unspecified amount as damages for all the sufferings.

Eric Nowak, a lawyer from New Orleans (LA)-based law firm Harrell and Nowak, is representing the plaintiff in court.

Hon. Paulette Irons, the Judge of Division M, will preside over the case.

Most of the mesothelioma cases have been found as a result of the negligence of the companies that made, sold or used asbestos and products containing the dangerous substance. They didn’t warn the workers about the hazards of asbestos and didn’t provide them with a safe working environment or safety devices such as respirators in order to prevent the toxic fibers to be inhaled. Anyone who develops asbestos-related diseases due to such negligence has the legal right to sue the responsible companies for damages.

News

Asbestos Present in 28 Sunderland Hospital Buildings

28 buildings in the city are on the Asbestos Risk Register of the city. The buildings include children’s centers and theater blocks.

However, Sunderland Royal Hospital’s bosses say the substance present in the building does not pose any hazard to the patients as it is managed properly.

According to a report, asbestos is present in the main building of the Sunderland Royal Hospital, along with the Eye Infirmary, former neonatal unit, Genitourinary Medical Center, Niall Quinn Center, and many others in the city.

Since 2011 January, Sunderland City Hospitals has expended £153,667 on the removal and maintenance of asbestos material from its structures.

“Asbestos material was extensively used in construction as well as engineering until the late 1980s. Like almost all other buildings, asbestos was used in the properties of Sunderland City Hospitals as well. The use of asbestos was not restricted or regulated then,” said a spokesman representing the Trust.

“The trust has given top priority always to the safety and health of its employees, contractors, patients and the public. It identifies its legal responsibilities and duties under the 1974 Health & Safety at Work Act as well as the 2012 Asbestos Control Regulations. It has also developed ample procedures for managing the asbestos material present in its buildings,” the spokesman said.

“Many of our hospital buildings were constructed at a time when the use of asbestos was at peak in the construction industry,” he added. Usually these structures contained lot of amosite, typically known as “brown asbestos”, and sometimes as “gray asbestos”. It is a dangerous form of the material. However, if the property is managed properly, the material does not pose any harm, he said.

It was revealed last month that how 65 percent of the city schools contained asbestos, a potentially deadly cancer causing substance. Asbestos is a mineral mined from the nature. It is made up microscopic fibers. If it is disturbed or damaged, the fibers of asbestos could be emitted into the air and inhaled easily by anyone present in the area. If significant amounts of the fibers are breathed in, that person could develop diseases such as asbestosis, malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer. The diseases usually take several decades to appear. However, most of the asbestos-related illnesses are fatal. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the protective lining of the chest and abdomen. It has no cure.

News

Woman Says Asbestos Exposure Killed Husband

A former plumber’s bereaved widow is asking the deceased man’s colleagues to come forward for helping her fight for justice.

Charles Baker, who was a heating engineer and a plumber, passed away after developing an asbestos-linked cancer in January 2012 when he was 72 years old. Doctors confirmed that he died from mesothelioma, an incurable cancer of the lungs’ lining. Mesothelioma is developed because of inhalation of asbestos fibers and dust. Baker allegedly inhaled the toxic dust while working with TA King & Son, in Sandridge Rd, St. Albans.

Baker died just 9 months after he was diagnosed with the cancer. Now his wife Mrs. Shirley Baker, is requesting the help of her husband’s former colleagues to explain how he inhaled the dangerous fibres from 1955 to 1966.

“During his job, Charles came in interaction with the dangerous mineral on a regular basis. His work was dusty and dirty. Baker told they never warned him regarding the hazardous nature of asbestos and never provided him with any sort of protective wears or mask in order to prevent him from inhaling the toxic fibers,” Mrs. Baker said.

“Charles worked with a lot of people and in so many different buildings in Hertfordshire and St Albans. I am sure that many people are there who are able to help me,” She said.

Baker has 2 grandchildren. He was residing in Lowestoft, Suffolk in 2011 when he became ill. He felt chest pains and initial tests could not find any serious issues. However, subsequent checkups confirmed that he had developed malignant mesothelioma, a deadly cancer of the mesothelium.

Following his death, Mrs. Baker consulted with some attorneys to help find out if TA King & Son could’ve done more for protecting her husband from exposure to asbestos.

The distressed widow says her husband had told her that he had been regularly exposed to asbestos during his ten-year career at TA King & Son as he had to chip off asbestos lagging using a chisel or hammer and blend asbestos paste for lagging pipes and boilers. She says he specifically recalled his works at Saint Michael’s Manor, Saint Albans Abbey, Hill End Psychiatric Hospital, and Saint Albans City Hospital.

Mesothelioma usually appears several decades after the inhalation of asbestos fibers. However, it typically kills the victim within 15 months once appeared. A permanent cure is yet to be discovered for mesothelioma.

News

Jury Returns Verdict in favor of Defendants in Asbestos Exposure Case

After a 9-week trial, a 12-0 verdict was returned by a jury in Santa Barbara favoring the defense in a case that involved claims of economic damages and bodily injuries in connection with asbestos exposure. The defendants were represented by Uyen Nguyen and Victoria Ersoff of Wood Smith Henning and Berman LLP.

Plaintiffs William Budke, Inger Budke and their children filed lawsuit against Santa Barbara Housing Authority, its Chief Executive Officer, Deputy Executive Officer, and Property and Development Director over bodily injuries, property damage, economic losses, emotional distress and loss of consortium relating to exposure to asbestos and mold in a housing community.

Inger Budke was employed as Resident Coordinator at various apartments that the defendants owned. Budke resided there with family. The plaintiffs alleged that defendant companies failed to remediate the conditions in the apt. which made it uninhabitable. The defendants didn’t properly train the maintenance workers about the remediation and identification of asbestos and mold, the suit states. The companies violated asbestos safety regulations during their remediation and maintenance works all through their properties, according to the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs also alleged that health conditions became poor as they had to reside in an apartment that was not at all fit to live in. According to the plaintiffs, their daughters are suffering from severe allergies and asthma. The youngest daughter of the plaintiffs had severe birth injuries such as neuro-behavioral and neuro-cognitive deficits because of the dangerous conditions in their apartment, the lawsuit states.

After deliberating nearly a day, the jury decided to return a verdict in favor of the defense. They found Inger Budke, one of the plaintiffs, to be causally negligent.

Before the trial, the defendants served offers to negotiate on all the plaintiffs totaling US$54000. However, plaintiffs counsel informed the jury that she’d be asking millions of dollars in punitive and compensatory damages. Now the defendant companies can recover from claimants their lawyers’ fees and costs.

Anybody who suffers from asbestos-related health problems has the legal right to sue the responsible companies and win compensation from them. However, the plaintiff should convincingly prove that the defendant companies are really responsible for the asbestos exposure that resulted in his/her health problems. Therefore, the service of an efficient and expert attorney is vital in any case relating to health problems caused by occupational asbestos exposure.

News

WI Assembly Passes New Asbestos Lawsuit Bill

Wisconsin – The Wisconsin (WI) Assembly has passed measure on last Wednesday that critics say would adversely affect the lawsuits over asbestos exposure.

The bill would need claimants to disclose the number of businesses their lawyers plan to sue. The claimants should reveal any claims they’ve filed against trust funds of bankrupt businesses.

According to the Republicans who back the bill, such a measure would prevent attorneys from concealing multiple claims hoping for maximum awards. They say some claimants do not inform the courts they’re also seeking compensation from the trust funds of the bankrupt businesses and the judges do not have any way to assign the liability properly.

However, the opponents – including the trial lawyers – say the bill is intended to slow down the cases expecting the claimants will pass away and to protect businesses from making compensation payouts.

The bill, which passed on 58-39 vote, was proposed by Wisconsin Republican member Andre Jacque. Jacque said the measure would give more transparency to asbestos claims. It would help the jurors and the judges realize how many defendant companies might be liable for a person’s disease so that they can assign the damages fairly, Jacque said.

The bill will now move toward the Senate for approval.

According to opponents, the bill would extend trials for the victims of asbestos exposure.

Long used as an insulation and fireproofing material, asbestos can contribute several health problems and terminal diseases such as cancer. Several companies that made asbestos products have become bankrupt and established trust funds for compensating the victims. The victims have legal right to file lawsuits against the bankrupt businesses as well as the companies that are running still. The new bill would need claimants to disclose whether they’ve filed any claim against the trust funds. Once this has been done, their court trials couldn’t begin for 6 months.

Joan Claybrook, the Spokeswoman representing the Asbestos Cancer Victims Rights Campaign, said she was shocked to that the WI assembly passed such a bill which adds extra burdens for the seniors and veterans of the state who are dying from asbestos-related diseases. “Though asbestos diseases takes several decades to appear, they kill the victims usually within 18 months once appeared,” she said.

“The bill would allow asbestos firms to avoid responsibility as well as accountability at the cost of WI senior citizens and veterans. We honestly hope the Wisconsin Senate members will act appropriately to put an end to this dangerous legislation,” Claybrook said.

News

60 Companies Sued over Asbestos-related Lung Cancer

One more asbestos suit has been recently added to the fastly growing case list in the asbestos docket of St. Clair County.

Neda Mays, as the special administrator of John Mays’ estate, filed a lawsuit over asbestos exposure in the Saint Clair Circuit Court. The plaintiff doesn’t mention where she is residing.

The plaintiff will be represented by Barry Julian and Randy L Gori of Edwardsville law firm Gori, Julian & Associates.

Neda Mays filed her complaint on 4th April, 2013, in which she sues 60 companies over an asbestos-related lung cancer. The suit states that the companies caused John Mays to develop a fatal lung cancer. According to the plaintiff, John Mays developed the disease as a result of his regular exposure to various asbestos-containing products of the defendant companies all through his employment.

John Mays has done different jobs in his career. He was a bulldozer driver with Job Corps Cooking between 1963 and 1965. Between 1965 and 1967, he worked as a flooring maker. Then he became a wood paneling maker with Evans Products and continued the job until 1969. Finally, between 1969 and 1991, Mays worked as a chemical blender and operator with Humko Chemical, the lawsuit states. He was exposed to asbestos fibers during all these jobs. Additionally, Mays was secondarily exposed to the cancer causing fibers through the work clothes of his dad who had worked as a laborer with Nikki Brothers, according to the suit.

The defendants knew or should’ve known regarding the harmful features of asbestos mineral, but did not exercise proper caution and care for the safety of John Mays and his co-workers and their family members, the lawsuit states.

Because of his devastating asbestos-related health issues, John Mays became disfigured and disabled, incurred huge medical expenses and suffered immense mental anguish and physical pain, according to the suit. Additionally, John Mayes became prevented from continuing his normal employment course, and thus lost huge amounts of money which would’ve otherwise accrued to him, according the suit.

In the 10-count lawsuit, the plaintiff is asking for a judgment of $150000 or more, financial damages of $200000 or more, punitive & exemplary damages of $50000 or more, compensatory damages in excess of $100000. Neda is also seeking unspecified punitive damages, costs and other relief to which she might be entitled.

News

Ashland Couple Says Workplace Asbestos Exposure Caused Mesothelioma

Charleston, West Virginia – A couple from Ashland, Kentucky, has filed a lawsuit against 56 defendant companies that they think are liable for a malignant mesothelioma diagnosis.

Jimmie E Epling was diagnosed on 7th January, 2013, with malignant mesothelioma, a lawsuit filed on 22nd April in Kanawha County Circuit Court says.

According to Epling, he had the habit of smoking nearly one and a half packs of cigarettes per day between 1963 and 1993. Epling says he quit that habit then. Smokers have an increased risk of developing asbestos-related cancers such as mesothelioma if they’ve been exposed to asbestos fibers, according to researchers.

The defendant companies exposed the plaintiff to asbestos or products containing the dangerous substance during his career as an operator and machinist from year 1952 till 2000, according to the lawsuit.

Epling is blaming the defendant companies for alleged negligence, violation of warranty, intentional tort, misrepresentation, conspiracy and strict liability. He says the companies never warned him or other employees when asking them to work with and around a cancer-causing substance. Epling was not aware of the dangerous features of asbestos either, he says. The defendant companies made, supplied or used several asbestos products without providing any indication of the hazards associated with them, according to Epling.

Epling, along with his wife Ernestine, is asking for a grand jury trial for getting all these issues resolved. James McKowen, an attorney with WV lawfirm James F. Humphreys & Associates, L.C., is representing the claimants.

A visiting judge is expected to preside over the case.

3M Co; A.W. Chesterton Co; Amdura Corp; Bucyrus International; Buffalo Pumps; CBS Corp; Caterpillar; Clark Equipment Co; Certainteed Corp; and Cleaver Brooks Co. are the defendant companies cited in Epling’s lawsuit.

“Asbestos” is commercial name given to a number of fibrous minerals occurring in the nature. These minerals have high flexibility, tensile strength, resistance to electricity, heat, fire and corrosion, and durability. They are very cheap as well. For all these reasons, asbestos was widely used in a number of commercial products for many decades. These products include fireproofing and insulation materials, automotive clutches and brakes, cement, wallboard materials, ceiling tiles, and textile products. Though asbestos has all such useful features, it is a health hazard as well. Inhalation of its fibers could cause chronic respiratory problems and fatal cancers such as lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma.

News

Northville Township Approves Additional Fund for Powerhouse Demolition Project because of Asbestos Discovery

Northville Township’s Board of Trustees has approved an extra $288000 for tearing down of the power house of former psychiatric hospital.

The board approved spending the money from its general fund for removing asbestos material manually from the powerhouse of former psychiatric hospital, some recent reports say.

A report published in the Observer & Eccentric says the board last week approved using another $288000 from its general fund for the demolition project so that the building could be torn down safely.

In April, at the time of State of Community address, Robert Nix – the Township Supervisor – said to the audience that they have added an extra amount – approximately $350000 – 400000 – to the demolition cost as asbestos material was discovered on the structure.

Asbestos removal is a very expensive and laborious job. Specialist contractor who has license to deal with asbestos should be hired for the task. Despite all these facts, asbestos abatement is a must prior to any demolition project if the material is present in a structure. The reason is that asbestos is a dangerous carcinogen. If asbestos is disturbed, damaged, or broken, its fibres become airborne – means they are released into the air. Airborne fibers of asbestos are easily inhalable. Inhalation of asbestos fibres is linked to a number of diseases and some of them are deadly. Malignant mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of chest and abdomen, and asbestosis, the scarring of lung tissue, are 2 fatal diseases linked to asbestos exposure. Inhalation of asbestos fibres can also cause lung cancer. Due to these hazards, many countries have banned the use of asbestos. It is not totally banned in the United States. However, it is a highly regulated material in the nation. Whoever violates these regulations could be punished with fines and imprisonment.

This demolition project is partly funded by a grant. However, Nix says the township is planning to use the money attained by REIS development – the Michigan University medical center and proposed retail centre – to fund the tearing down project.

According to the report published in Observer & Eccentric, the township supervisor said Northville has the responsibility to finish the demolition project if they wished to qualify for grants in the future which would help fund the cleanup works for the remaining structures on the hospital property and abiding by the brownfield plan was vitally important.