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Month: September 2013


Apex Oil Sues Insurance Company for Failing to Cover Costs of Asbestos Claim

Apex Oil is suing an insurance firm for allegedly failing to pay the oil company for defending an asbestos exposure lawsuit filed at Madison County Circuit Court. Apex has filed a lawsuit against insurance company Arrowood Indemnity asking for defense costs incurred by it for fighting an asbestos lawsuit filed in year 2010.

The asbestos case was filed by Ms. Mary Krohn over her husband Mr. Richard A Krohn’s asbestos-related death. Mr. Krohn was an employee of Clark Oil between 1957 and 1996. Clark Oil is Apex oil’s predecessor.

However, the insurance company says it is not actually legally responsible to cover the asbestos lawsuit against Apex Oil as it wasn’t notified about the case in a timely manner. Richard Krohn’s last asbestos exposure took place in 1996 at the Blue Island facility of Clark Oil and his lawsuit for asbestos exposure-related injuries was filed on 4th August, 2010. However, according to Arrowood, it did not receive any notice regarding the case until 2012 December when an instant action was filed by Apex Oil against the insurance company. Arrowood says it is not at all responsible to cover that asbestos claim as Apex Oil’s policy had expired well prior to the incident. Arrowood says Apex’s last policy expired on 1st January, 1982, which means the asbestos plaintiff’s last exposure didn’t occur during the time period Apex’s policy was in effect as needed to trigger coverage.

Additionally, Arrowood says that it is operating on a 3-year provision, which states it isn’t legally responsible for covering bodily injuries by disease unless filed 3 years or sooner following the expiry of the policy.

According to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Richard Krohn, he was not diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma until 2008 December, which Arrowood Indemnity argues was well after the time period for insurance coverage.

Asbestos exposure was quite common in industries especially prior to the 1980s. Because of this, many former workers have suffered and are suffering from various asbestos-related diseases. These workers have the legal right to sue their former employers and other responsible companies over their asbestos-related ailments. If the liability is proved, they can win reasonable damages as well. Asbestos exposure can cause serious and fatal diseases. Asbestos-related diseases often appear several decades after the victim’s exposure to the substance. However, once appeared, they can be deadly. Malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, pleural plaques, and asbestosis are some diseases caused by exposure to asbestos.


Asbestos Victim Wins $38M

A worker from South Carolina, who is suffering from malignant mesothelioma, has won a jury award of $38 million against the manufacturers of asbestos-containing equipment.

Lloyd S Garvin was regularly exposed to the dangerous mineral in products such as valves and pumps which he used for many years while working at a factory and on his own family farm, court documents indicate. According to medical experts, Garvin has now less than 12 months to live because mesothelioma typically kills its victims within a year (although it takes a few decades to appear after the inhalation of asbestos fibers). Garvin is 74 years old.

Garvin’s lawsuit had initially named 13 companies as defendants. However, most of them settled the case out of court prior to the court trial. Only 3 companies – Crane Co, Byron Jackson, and Durco – faced the court trial.

Attorneys Theile McVey and Jessica Dean argued that the defendant companies should’ve known regarding the hazards of asbestos exposure, but never warned workers who used their asbestos-containing products about those risks.

Garvin testified through video as he is now recovering from a double pneumonia (infection on both the lungs). His doctors believe that he has only a few more months to live.

Mesothelioma is a fatal form of cancer which affects the linings of lungs, chest and abdominal cavity. There is only one known cause for this deadly cancer and that is asbestos exposure. When asbestos is disturbed or damaged during any work, it releases numerous microscopic fibers into the air. The workers deal with the material or anyone in the surroundings inhale these tiny asbestos fibers. These fibers stay on lungs for long and causes diseases such as mesothelioma after several decades.

Dean asked the court to award $1M to Garvin for each year that he’d have lived had he not developed the deadly cancer. She told the jury that Garvin could have lived another 10-11 years otherwise.

After deliberation for almost 4 hours, the jury returned and awarded the plaintiff with $10M in actual damages, in addition to $1M to Garvin’s wife Velda for her loss of consortium. Velda is 50 years old. Punitive damages were added to that by the jurors who asked Crane Co and Durco to pay $11m each. Byron Jackson was ordered to pay $5M to the plaintiff.

Terry Budd, the attorney represented Crane Co, said the verdict was “flawed.” He said the company would definitely appeal the ruling.


Asbestos Removal Ongoing at St. Ignatius Retreat House

Workers are cleaning up asbestos material from the historic Saint Ignatius Retreat House of the North Shore, prompting concerns among community groups and preservationists.

Marvin Natiss, the Mayor of North Hills, said that the asbestos removal project, which has been ongoing since last week, is fully legal and does not put the health of residents who are staying nearby at risk. Natiss said the village has sent a letter to that effect.

Natiss said all works are being carried out fully in compliance with the state law and regulations. He said the State Department of Labor (DoL) is supervising the project. The residents in the area are absolutely safe and they have nothing to worry about this job, he said.

However, civic groups and preservationists in the area believe that the ongoing work is to bring the historic structure – which is more than 90 years old – to a step nearer to demolition. They say asbestos abatement is typically a prelude to tearing down. John Bralower, the vice chairman of a preservation group (North Shore Land Alliance), said he would definitely be surprised if those works weren’t a preface to demolition.

Manhasset Bay Group, the present owner of the building, was unwilling to comment. The 33-acre property was bought by Manhasset in last July. The 87-room mansion’s previous owner is New York Province Society of Jesus. The mansion is also called Inisfada.

Asbestos removal is inevitable prior to the demolition of old structures. The reason is that asbestos can be extremely dangerous if it is broken or disturbed during the demolition process. Disturbed asbestos would release microscopic fibers into the air and, if they are inhaled, could cause deadly diseases like cancer.

Natiss says he does not believe asbestos abatement necessarily indicates that the structure is going to be demolished. He says asbestos removal is done prior to renovation works as well. Officials indicated that the developer is planning to turn that property into a number of single-family homes.

Now, many local officials are calling for the mansion to be saved. They say the building has to put on the state as well as national register of historic buildings and places. Richard Nicolello, one of the legislatures, said the structure is magnificent and it definitely worth preservation. Not only for its astonishing architectural magnificence, but also for the spiritual importance of the building, he said. The mansion has long been a spiritual heart of Long Island community, he said.


Former Railway Worker Dies from Malignant Mesothelioma

A Chandler’s Ford man who passed away after developing a deadly cancer known malignant mesothelioma following his long career dealing with asbestos, an inquest heard.

Ronald Lee died recently from mesothelioma when he was 88 years old. He had worked for nearly 47 years on the railways.

Lee started his career as an electrician when he was just 14 years old. As part of that job, he had to remove insulation containing asbestos. Later he became a foreman.

A testimony letter presented by David Wyatt – the son-in-law of Mr. Lee – to the inquest confirmed that Lee had a long history of dealing with and working close to asbestos as well as asbestos-containing products.

Mr. Lee, a Common Rd (Chandler’s Ford) resident, passed away at a Winchester hospital (Royal Hampshire County Hospital) on 17th July.

Sarah Whitby, the assistant deputy coroner, recorded a death verdict due to an industrial disease.

Mesothelioma (or malignant mesothelioma) is a cancer which begins in cells lining certain body parts, particularly the victim’s chest or abdomen. In majority of cases, mesothelioma begins in cells which line the cavity of chest. The cancer may also begin in cells lining the abdominal cavity. At times, the disease may also begin in cells lining outside the heart. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer, but it is deadly as well. Nearly 200 new mesothelioma cases are diagnosed every year in the state of New York.

Asbestos-related deaths are not uncommon among railway workers all over the world. Many railroad workers in the United States also have died from different asbestos-related diseases such as malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural plaques and lung cancer.

The railroad has definitely been a major advance which helped the nation expand across the whole continent. Before a few decades, most of the trains were powered through steam engine that created a huge amount of energy and heat as a byproduct. The industry had to insulate and protect the engines and trains from this. For this purpose, they used a naturally occurring mineral called asbestos because it was very strong and an excellent fire-retardant. However, steam engines were later replaced gradually by diesel engines. But asbestos was used even in those engines until the 1970s. The use of asbestos became restricted when the hazards associated with the material became widely known. Therefore, former railroad workers are at the risk of developing fatal asbestos-related diseases including cancer.


Former Electrician Develops Asbestos-related Lung Cancer

New Orleans, Louisiana –A former electrician has filed a suit against numerous corporations over the asbestos-linked lung cancer with which he was diagnosed recently, alleging that he developed the deadly cancer because of his work-related exposure to hazardous fibers asbestos fibers.

The lawsuit was filed by Mr. Charles Carrone on 16th July in the Central Dist. Court in Orleans Parish. Following are the companies named as defendants in this case:

Asbestos Corp Ltd., Eagle Incorporated, Foster Wheeler Energy Corp, McCarty Corp, Maryland Casualty Co, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co, Owens Illinois Incorporated, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co, Ownes IllinoisIncorporated, Reilly-Benton Co, Taylor Seidenbach Incorporated, Taylor-Seidenbach Incorporated, General Electric Co and Boland Machine and Manufacturing Co.

According to the suit, Carrone was exposed to hazardous levels of dangerous asbestos fibers during his employment from 1950 until 1979 as an electrician. Carrone says he was regularly exposed to the cancer-causing mineral while dealing with various products on the vessels of United Fruits Co at New Orleans Riverfront, while doing maintenance work for Coca-Cola boilers, and while working with Evans Cooperage.

The suit also states that the plaintiff’s lung cancer is the direct and proximate result of his workplace asbestos exposure.

Until the 1980s, asbestos was widely used by all sorts of industries because of its low cost and wonderful properties such as resistance to fire, corrosion and electricity, strength, ductility, durability etc. Most of the companies were aware of the hazards of asbestos exposure, but they ignored it because of their greed for profit. They used asbestos and exposed workers to the dangerous mineral without warning them regarding the hazards associated with it and without providing them any sort of protective equipment such as respirators and face masks. For this reason, many former industry workers are now suffering from fatal asbestos-related diseases.

The defendant companies allegedly used products which are unjustly dangerous. Additionally, they failed: to properly warn workers regarding the dangers of their asbestos-containing products; and to safely design the products when the nature of those products not actually required the use of a cancer-causing mineral like asbestos. The plaintiff alleges that the products had defects in construction and composition.

In his lawsuit, Carrone is seeking an unspecified amount in damages for lost earnings, medical costs, physical pain, sufferings, mental anguish, physical disability, emotional distress and court costs.

New Orleans Attorney David Cannella is representing Carrone in this case. Hon. Paulette Irons, the Judge of division M, will be presiding over the case.


Idaho Residents Sentenced for Violating Asbestos Regulations

Washington, DC – Douglas Greiner, an Eagle (ID) resident, and Bradley Eberhart, a Garden Valley (ID) resident, were sentenced a few days ago in a United States District Court for breaching the work practice standards under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) to control asbestos emissions, Environment & Natural Resources Division’s Acting Asst. Attorney General Robert Dreher and Idaho District’s United States Attorney Wendy Olson announced recently. Eberhart is 51 and Greiner is 53 years old.

Hon. Edward Lodge, the United States District Judge who presided over the case, sentenced Eberhart to 6 months of imprisonment, in addition to home confinement for 6 months, community service for 200 hours, and $3.98M in restitution. Greiner was sentenced to 6 months in federal prison, in addition to home confinement for 6 months and supervised for 6 months. The restitution amount to be imposed against Greiner would be decided after further briefing.

Both the defendants had pleaded guilty previously on 26th February, 2013.

Owyhee Construction Incorporated, a Boise-based contractor, won a $2.1M waterline renovation after submitting the least bid for that Orofino (Idaho) project. Greiner was the superintendent of the project, whereas Eberhart was the supervisor onsite. The contract papers warned the company that it might encounter nearly 5000 linear ft. of CAP (cement asbestos piping) at the time of renovation. CAP is non-friable asbestos, which is covered in cement matrix. When CAP is crushed or broken by using heavy equipment or it is subjected to grinding and cutting by using machinery that becomes highly regulated due to the health risk caused by airborne asbestos fibers.

Greiner and Eberhart failed to adequately oversee the renovation, court documents indicate. Eberhart oversaw workers who weren’t adequately trained to handle works involving asbestos. The workers were not given protective gears while cutting asbestos pipe using saws. Workers should use protective equipment while doing jobs that may cause asbestos fibers to be airborne. The reason is that airborne asbestos fibers can be extremely dangerous. If these fibers are breathed in, fatal diseases could be developed in the future. Asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural plaques, and malignant mesothelioma are some dangerous diseases caused by exposure to asbestos fibers.

The EPA had to spend nearly $4 million to clean up the asbestos-contaminated property. The issue was investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and prosecuted by Asst. United States Attorney Ronald Sutcliffe.


Montgomery Man Indicted for Illegal Removal of Asbestos

A man from Montgomery County is facing nearly 25 years of imprisonment and a fine of nearly $1.25M for illegally removing dangerous asbestos from a property in Philadelphia (PA).

Federal authorities indicted David Mermelstein, a Willow Grove (PA) resident who is 53 years old, on 5 counts of illegal asbestos removal, the United States Attorney’s office for the E. Dist. of Pennsylvania declared.

Prosecutors say that in year 2009, Mermelstein hired some day laborers instead of using licensed asbestos abatement contractors for removing asbestos material from one of the commercial properties owned by the defendant in NE Philadelphia.

The indictment says that Mermelstein asked his day laborers to remove asbestos-containing products from the building without providing them any safeguards as mandated by the law. The property – a very old furniture warehouse – was purchased by Mermelstein in 2001 April, the indictment says.

The asbestos at issue was present in piping which ran all through the structure. Asbestos was used once used widely in piping because it is an excellent insulator.

According to the indictment, Mermelstein violated the Clean Air Act or CAA that the Congress had enacted for enhancing the quality of resources of the nation and for promoting public welfare and health.

The case was investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which generates standards under the CAA, and the Philadelphia City’s Air Management Services, records indicate.

The indictment states that the defendant hired ordinary laborers for removing insulated pipes containing asbestos from the structure after realizing that hiring a licensed contractor for asbestos removal would be far more expensive.

The defendant directed his workers for removing insulated pipes containing asbestos which were there in his property. He used techniques such as cutting, ripping and breaking dry asbestos, causing the material to drop down onto the floor. He also used techniques such as sweeping debris and dust containing asbestos and disposing of the material in a dumpster, according to the indictment. Under the law, asbestos waste should be disposed of in an authorized landfill.

The federal government also maintains that the defendant intentionally concealed the information from the workers that they were actually removing asbestos-containing materials from the worksite and thus put them into risk of developing dangerous asbestos-related diseases. The indictment also states that Mermelstein continued to use the workers for removing asbestos piping even after he was ordered by the Philadelphia City to halt his illegal work.


Scrap Metal Merchant Dies from Malignant Mesothelioma

A scrap metal dealer who stripped boilers for his livelihood died after developing a fatal asbestos-related illness, a recent inquest heard.

The birth place of Ernest Vig is Hungary, but he came to England when he was just 23 years old. Vig is 80 years old now.

Vig was self-employed and spent majority of his career as a scrap metal merchant. He had to cut up copper boilers which are lagged with hazardous asbestos.

Mr. Vig, a High St. (Scapegoat Hill) resident, suffered from a heart attack in year 2008. For the rest of his life, he had to use wheelchair. Then he was diagnosed with mesothelioma (in year 2012), following suffering from lung problems. His condition worsened shortly and he passed away on 31st May, 2013.

Post mortem reports indicate that the cause of his death was malignant mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by the inhalation of microscopic asbestos fibers.

Roger Whittaker, the Coroner, recorded an industrial illness death verdict.

Malignant mesothelioma is a deadly tumor of the mesothelial cells that generally takes place in pleura (80 to 90 percent of all mesothelioma cases). The tumor may also affect other areas such as peritoneum, testes and pericardium. Mesothelioma is developed as a result of the patients’ past exposure to or inhalation of asbestos fibers. The possibility to develop this cancer increases proportionally with the amount of asbestos fibers inhaled by a person. Mesothelioma victims may be eligible for compensation because most of the asbestos exposure was caused by the negligence of employers.

Mesothelioma generally affects men. In men, it is 3 times more common than in women. Generally this cancer is found in people aged between 40 and 70. In the UK, the rate of occurrence of pleural mesothelioma is 1.25 for each 100,000.

Asbestos exposure is the one and only cause for mesothelioma, with occupational exposure to the substance being the reason for 70 to 80 percent of all cases. Secondary exposure to asbestos – that is, the exposure takes place through the work clothes of a person who deals with or works close to asbestos – also can cause mesothelioma, although it is not so often. Generally the disease appear after 30 to 40 years after the first exposure to asbestos fibers. Due to this high latency period, diagnosis of mesothelioma is very difficult, especially if the patient does not mention his history of asbestos exposure.