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Month: January 2014


Machinist’s Widow Files Asbestos Lawsuit

Chicago, Illinois – The wife of a retired aviation machinist has filed a lawsuit which alleges that repeated asbestos exposure caused her husband to develop malignant mesothelioma that ultimately resulted in death.

Mary J Kirkendall is suing a number of defendant corporations including A W Chesterton Company as the personal rep. of Leon J Kirkendall’s estate. Kirkendall filed her lawsuit on 12th November in the circuit court in Cook County, IL.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s husband worked as an aviation machinist and several other capacities at different locations across the United States between 1942 and 1977.

Kirkendall states that the defendant companies were negligent in exposing her hubby to dangerous asbestos fibers. These companies were well aware of or should’ve known regarding the hazards of asbestos exposure. In spite of the fact that inhalation of asbestos fibers could result in deadly diseases like cancer, the companies allowed workers to deal with or work close to asbestos products. The workers were not provided with any protective apparel to prevent them from inhaling asbestos fibers, Kirkendall alleges.

According to the lawsuit, Leon died from malignant mesothelioma on 2nd June, 2012.

Kirkendall is asking for damages for all the pain and sufferings her husband experienced prior to his death because of his asbestos-related condition, and her loss of consortium, loss of society, medical costs and court costs. The amount of compensation she is seeking has not been specified in the lawsuit. Cooney and Conway attorney Daniel Ryan will represent her in court.

Malignant mesothelioma is a deadly cancer develops in the mesothelium (lining of lungs, abdomen and chest) of individuals exposed to asbestos fibers. It is a rare cancer which is exclusively caused by inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers. This cancer usually develops several decades after the exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma usually begins in the outer lining of the lungs (known as pleura), but could also arise in the membrane of the abdominal cavity (known as peritoneum). Rarely, the heart or the reproductive organs also can be affected.

At present, there is no known cure for malignant mesothelioma unless the cancer is detected in its preliminary stage and removed through a surgery. The unfortunate reality is that mesothelioma can’t be detected in its early stages. The symptoms usually appear several decades after the exposure to asbestos. However, there are effective treatments to ease the symptoms of mesothelioma and improve the prognosis.


Appeal Court Upholds Asbestos Violator’s Prison Sentence

A United States federal court of appeals has upheld the ten-year prison term given to a sprinkle contractor from Illinois for allegedly hiring untrained laborers and removing asbestos illegally without using any protective apparels. Additionally, the Illinois contractor had disposed of the contaminated debris illegally.

The prosecutors were able to present enough evidence before the jury to prove that Duane O’Malley intentionally violated the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) by illegally removing, shifting and dumping asbestos-containing insulation, the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously.

Asbestos is a very dangerous mineral which can cause diseases such as asbestosis, lung disorders, malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer.

According to court documents, Michael Pinski, a real estate developer, bought a warehouse at Kankakee (Illinois), which contained asbestos insulation wrapped around the pipes. In year 2009, he hired Duane O’Malley’s firm for revamping the sprinkler system of the warehouse.

O’Malley offered that he would remove the asbestos insulation and dispose it of properly if Pinski was ready to give another $12000 in cash without any written contract. As this price was significantly less than the asbestos abatement cost if the job is done by any licensed contractor, according to the office of the United States Attorney. However, neither O’Malley nor his company was licensed to deal with asbestos. O’Malley had no trained employees to comply with the asbestos regulations.

O’Malley hired Mr. Jeff Franc to carry out the work. Franc recruited 3 workers for the task. These workers used a saw and other devices given by O’Malley for striping the dry asbestos-containing insulation off the pipes in the warehouse.

Court documents show that O’Malley didn’t hire anyone who had been trained in asbestos handling. He hadn’t trained Franc or his workers in the right and legal method to get rid of asbestos either, the charging documents state. O’Malley failed to provide water to wet the dry asbestos and the circular saw used by the workers to strip off the insulation produced massive amounts of toxic dust which filled the entire room.

Developer Michael Pinski admitted guilty to violating the CAA. He was given prison sentence for a year. One of the employees of O’Malley, who admitted guilty to violations, received imprisonment for 6 months.

O’Malley was sentenced to 10 years in prison. In addition, the jury asked to him to pay $15000 in fines. O’Malley was also ordered to pay the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $47000 in restitution.


Couple Wins $27515000 Verdict in Mesothelioma Case

Cleveland OH – A jury in Cuyahoga County awarded $27515000 to a mesothelioma victim and his wife in an asbestos exposure suit filed against Kelsey Hayes Co, successor to the National Friction Products Corporation.

John Panza was regularly exposed to asbestos fibers and dust brought home by his father through his work clothes. Panza’s father was working with Eaton Airflex, a company that manufactured automobile brakes. He worked there between 1963 and 1993 in the receiving & shipping department. As his job required delivering of substances all through the factory and he was a regular bystander to many workers who drilled as well as abraded the products of National Friction Products. The work released dangerous asbestos fibers to Panza’s father. Panza was exposed to the deadly fibers while helping sort as well as wash the dusty laundry of his father, court documents indicate.

Panza was awarded $515000 in financial damages, in addition to $12M in non-financial damages. Jane Panza – his wife – was given $15M for her loss of consortium. The only defendant in this case was Kelsey Hayes, which was found 60 percent responsible. The court handed down the verdict on 18th December, 2013. By the Ohio state statutory law, Eaton Airflex was immune from the lawsuit.

Another trial will be there later in which another jury will determine if the plaintiffs have to be awarded any punitive damages. The jury will also decide the amount of punitive damages, if any.

Panza was diagnosed in year 2012 with malignant mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the mesothelium. Mesothelioma is the most dangerous outcome of continuous asbestos exposure. This cancer is always deadly. Experts say asbestos exposure it the one and only reason for the development of mesothelioma. The cancer does not appear instantly after the exposure to asbestos fibers. In fact, it takes several decades to start showing the initial symptoms. However, once appeared, most mesothelioma victims die within a few months or a year. Panza, an English literature professor, is 40 years old now.

Panza’s attorney said he was really proud to represent the couple and to win true justice for them. He said he had never seen a more compelling family in the entire history of asbestos litigation.

The Panza couple has a daughter and they were hoping for more children. However, the cancer medications that Panza uses regularly prevent this from happening.


Asbestos Closes Senior Citizen Center

Pocatello – Concerns regarding possible asbestos dust have indefinitely closed Pocatello Senior Citizen Centre housed in the Bonneville Community Centre. Emergency closure of the center came into effect at 11 AM on Wednesday.

Samples of the materials collected inside the centre would be sent for analysis shortly. Lynn Transtrom, the supervisor of the building, said that the results would come back in 3 days.

Transtrom says he strongly believes asbestos had been used in heating ducts and that the material is starting breaking down. The centre was constructed in the 1950s when asbestos was an extensively-used building material. Further additions were made in the 1960. The building belongs to the Pocatello City.

Transtrom said they used massive amounts of asbestos material those days.

Jerilynn Mecham, the Senior Citizen Centre manager, said she found white dust near one of the heating vents in the centre a few days back and contacted a janitor. She says the janitor confirmed that the suspicious white dust was turning out to be more prevalent.

Mecham said it seemed like sheet rock dust. She said she had been puzzled and felt she had to bring that up with Transtrom.

Transtrom received a call from Jerilynn Mecham on Tuesday and investigation was made on Wednesday. Then he removed one of the vent grids and pulled off a fibrous material piece which was generating plenty of dust from the duct. The find was discussed with the legal department of the city. After the discussion, Transtrom said they had decided to close down the centre at once.

Transtrom said they do not prefer taking any chances.

If the centre has to be closed for a long duration, Mecham says they will make effort for providing a place for seniors to get a hot meal daily.

The presence of materials containing asbestos in a building constructed in the 1950s is not a surprise. Asbestos was not a regulated material then and its hazards were not at all known to the public. Later it became known that asbestos is a very dangerous mineral which can even cause deadly cancers such as malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer. So, in the 1980s, the U.S. started regulating asbestos. Asbestos is not used as a building material now-a-days. However, old buildings still contain the material and so it has to be removed from these buildings. Asbestos removal is a very expensive and time consuming process which requires the service of a licensed contractor.


Augusta Company Cited for Asbestos Violations

Georgia – The United States Labor Department’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties of in excess of $63000 against a demolition firm located in Augusta for alleged breaches linked to asbestos abatement during a demolition project at a Grovetown (GA) school building.

According to a Augusta Chronicle report, OSHA cited Augusta, GA-based Thompson Building & Wrecking Company for allegedly allowing its employees to be exposed to asbestos fibres, failing to isolate areas from which dangerous asbestos material was being eliminated, and failing to perform monitoring of airborne asbestos fibres.

For the 1st, 3-part violation, Thompson Building & Wrecking Company was issued a fine of $14700 by the federal agency.

A 2nd alleged breach netted Thompson Building a proposed fine of $49000 for intentionally failing to make sure that materials containing asbestos were adequately handled for minimizing employee exposure to the cancer-causing substance, the citation shows.

Hiram Thompson, the owner of Thompson Building, said the company received the federal citations because of the lack of knowledge of an inspector about removal of asbestos. Thompson said his company has refused a recent offer by OSHA to reduce the penalty. He says the company wants to have the fines dismissed.

Thompson said his company has been doing building operations for more than 50 years. He said it was the first citation ever received by the company in its entire history. Thompson said all the company employees are well trained and they always work within the asbestos abatement specifications.

The work at issue was carried out in last July on the vacant Grovetown School building, which was torn down by Columbia County Board for making way for a new school building. The building was 75 years old.

Presence of asbestos in a building which is 75 years old is not a surprise. Almost all building constructed prior to the 1980s contain asbestos. Before the 1980s, asbestos was not a restricted or regulated material because the hazards associated with the material were not completely known then. Once these hazards – such as the ability of asbestos to cause terminal diseases like asbestosis and cancer – became known to the public, asbestos became a highly regulated substance. All companies are supposed to follow federal and state regulations concerning asbestos removal while demolishing or renovating a building containing the dangerous mineral. Violation of these regulations could result in hefty penalties.


Illinois Resident Develops Lung Cancer from Occupational Exposure to Asbestos Fibers, Lawsuit Says

Edwardsville, IL – An Illinois man has filed a suit against a number of asbestos products’ manufacturers, alleging that the defendants exposed him to hazardous asbestos fibres and dust due to which he developed deadly lung cancer. The lawsuit was filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Bernard Grams, the plaintiff, says he was diagnosed in 2012 May with terminal lung cancer. Grams filed his suit on 18th December. Barry Julian and Randy L Gori, attorneys with Illinois law firm ‘Gori Julian and Associates P.C.,’ is representing Bernard Grams in his legal fight against the asbestos companies.

In his lawsuit, Mr. Grams does not specify where he is residing. However, he mentions that he was working as a tree trimmer for Milwaukee City. He had worked for the Chain Belt Division of Rexnord in the 1950s, according to the suit.

The defendants allegedly failed to warn Bernard Grams regarding the risks involved in working with and close to asbestos products. He says he was not aware of the consequences of inhalation of asbestos fibres from the products made by the defendant companies. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants included asbestos in many of their products even though safe substitutes had been readily available. Additionally, the defendant companies negligently failed to carry out tests on the asbestos products that they manufactured, supplied, installed or used, the plaintiff alleges. Bernard Grams says it was essential for determining the dangers to the workers including him.

The suit further claims that the defendant companies were aware of, or should have known of the toxic, hazardous, and highly poisonous effects of their products and the consequences of inhaling, absorbing or ingesting asbestos fibers and dust. However, the companies negligently failed to provide proper warnings to the plaintiff and other workers, the lawsuit states. The suit accuses the defendant companies of several negligent acts. Bernard Grams was never provided with any sort of protective equipment to ensure that asbestos fibers are not inhaled, the lawsuit indicates.

Taking proper safety precautions, such as using respirators in order to avoid asbestos inhalation, is essential while dealing with or working close to asbestos or products containing asbestos because asbestos fibers could be breathed in easily. Asbestos inhalation could result in deadly diseases such as lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma.

Bernard Grams is asking for at least $50,000 in compensation.


Lawsuits filed over Asbestos Exposure

A number of asbestos lawsuits have been filed in the circuit court in Madison County recently.

In a recently filed lawsuit, Gabriel Boser is suing a number of defendant corporations over his asbestos-related lung cancer diagnosis. According to the suit, Boser worked as a latherer, plasterer and farmer at different locations between 1956 and 2000. Boser says his disease is the direct result of his occupational exposure to asbestos fibers. Perry Browder and Robert Philips, attorneys with East Alton-based law firm Simmons Cooper.

In a different lawsuit, Charles Childress, an Illinois resident, claims he developed malignant mesothelioma because of his exposure to asbestos fibers at various working locations. According to the suit, Childress worked as a railroad laborer, carpenter and an auto mechanic between 1969 and 2000. St. Louis-based O’Brien Law Firm is representing the plaintiff.

According to a lawsuit filed by Kentucky residents Charles Childress and Brenda Childress, Charles contracted malignant mesothelioma because of his inhalation and ingestion of asbestos fibers while working as a heavy equipment operator with the United States Air Force and as an asst. credit manager with Harrison Tire & Rubber Company. Additionally, he was exposed to asbestos fibers while working as a welding helper and in-ground pool installer when he was a member of Bricklayers Union Local Number 2 at Indianapolis between 1959 and 2009. The couple is represented by Alton-based Gori Julian & Associates law firm.

Pennsylvania resident Isabelle Lesser says her recently deceased husband was a victim of asbestos exposure. She has filed a suit on behalf of Gustav Lesser. According to the suit, Ms. Lesser had worked as shipfitter at different locations between and he was exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos fibers during his employment. The plaintiff is represented by East Alton-based Simmons Cooper law firm.

Another lawsuit has been filed by Kentucky resident Gladys J Martin in which she claims her husband died from lung cancer that he developed because of his workplace exposure to asbestos fibers. Martin had been working as an automotive mechanic between 1971 and 2007. Ms. Martin will be represented by Robert Rowland and Elizabeth Heller of Edwardsville (IL)-based law firm Goldenberg Heller Antognoli and Rowland.

Georgia residents Velma Nabors and Roy Nabors have filed a lawsuit which alleges that Velma developed malignant mesothelioma because of her exposure to asbestos fibers which took place during his job between 1959 and 2009. He had worked as a painter, seamstress, secretary, post master and security guard at different locations. Additionally, she was exposed to asbestos fibres through the work clothes of her husband who had been working as an appliance repairer.


Hospital Cited for Asbestos Violations

Corona Regional Medical Centre has recently been cited by the Division of Occupational Safety & Health (known as DOSH or Cal/OSHA) for failing to notify workers regarding the presence of hazardous asbestos. OSHA cited the medical centre also for having procedural and training gaps for how workers should deal with exposure to airborne biological agents or diseases.

Cal/OSHA issued the citations for 3 violations. The 1st one was issued on 17th December for failing to properly alert workers regarding the presence of asbestos-containing materials at the defendant’s facility. The medical center was then cited on 5th August for 2 violations for failing to have a plan’s elements in place for dealing with likely exposure to airborne biological agents or diseases as part of a program to prevent injuries and illnesses, according to the citations’ copies.

Contractors have been dealing with asbestos present at the facility in a sealed-off portion, said Peter Melton, a spokesman representing the Cal/OSHA.

In both the cases, DOSH investigated after it received several complaints. The medical centre was issued a fine of $700 for the 1st violation. For the remaining 2 violations DOSH issued a fine of $755 against the hospital.

Nurses at the hospital have blamed the working conditions and patient safety at the facility.

The asbestos issue was exposed during the $23 million renovation project at the hospital. The presence of asbestos at buildings constructed prior to the 1980s is not a surprise because it was a very popular construction material then, said Linda Pearson, a spokeswoman representing the hospital.

Pearson said the issues were remediated as well as inspected as and when they were discovered in order to ensure that there’re no present as well as future risks to employees, patients and their families. She said Corona would keep on working with DOSH to ensure that their corrective measures are complete as well as approved.

According to Melton, the cited violations should be corrected or challenged by 7th and 31st of this month.

Asbestos is a notorious carcinogen which had been widely used as a building material until the 1980s. The hazards associated with asbestos exposure were not completely known then. Then it became a highly regulated material. Asbestos is made up of small fibers which can be airborne when it is broken or disturbed. These fibers could be breathed in easily. Inhaled asbestos fibers can cause terminal diseases including cancer, which usually appears after several decades.


Asbestos Defendant Declares Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Charleston, W. Virginia – An aluminum company based in New Jersey has recently declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy that has resulted in removing an asbestos suit filed against the company to a U.S. federal court. The suit was originally filed in the circuit court in Kanawha County.

Consolidated Aluminum Corporation, a company that stopped functioning in year 1994, announced bankruptcy on 15th December. The firm still exists for managing lawsuits against it.

According to the bankruptcy petition filed by the company, it has 100-200 creditors, but has only less than $1m in assets. The largest creditor of the company is Lonza America. Consolidated Aluminum owes in excess of $72M for an inter-company loan.

Consolidated Aluminum was doing business as Conalco. The company has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by John Davis and Gloria Davis. The suit was filed on 14th May, 2010 in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

Victoria Antion, an attorney with the Morgantown office of Motley Rice, and James McKowen, an attorney with Texas-based law firm James F Humphreys and Associates, are representing the couple in their legal fight.

According to the complaint, John Davis, a Parkersburg resident, is suffering from asbestos-related lung cancer. He had worked with Consolidated Aluminum at Hannibal in Ohio between 1958 and 1979.

Conalco’s notice of removal says the United States Dist. Court for the S. Dist. of W. Virginia does have jurisdiction over that case due to the federal bankruptcy proceeding.

Studies have showed significant increase in lung cancer rates among workers with a history of asbestos exposure. The increase is especially significant among workers with the habit of smoking, in addition to an asbestos exposure history. This indicates that the risk of developing lung cancer substantially increase when asbestos exposure couples with cigarette smoking.

Most asbestos-related lung cancer begins in the covering of bronchi, the passageways into which the windpipe or trachea divides. But, asbestos-related lung cancer can also start in the other areas of human body such as bronchioles, trachea, or alveoli. Though lung cancer typically develops fairly slowly, once it develops, cancer cells could break away and scatter to other areas of body.

The 2 most general types of asbestos-related lung cancer are SCLC (Small Cell Lung Cancer) and NSCLC (Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer). In SCLC, the cancer cells are round and small, whereas in NSCLC they are larger. At times, the cancer has characteristics of both SCLC and NSCLC and then it is known as mixed small cell/large cell lung cancer.