Despite the fact that asbestos has long been known as a dangerous carcinogenic material responsible for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, the publicly owned company Metro de Madrid has been slow to take any type of action. The material was banned in Spain in 2001 and the transit authority officially knew that its trains and subway system were contaminated in 2003, when it was the subject of a health and safety report. Despite this, they failed to take action to remove the dangerous material: now the organization is being sued by the families of workers who’ve been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases who are accusing them of negligence. In the first of these cases to be heard in the country, the worker’s family is seeking the equivalent of $450,000 in damages.
It is these lawsuits filed by workers sickened with mesothelioma that has finally gotten the Metro de Madrid to take appropriate remediation action. The first worker filed a lawsuit in 2017, and that was when the Ministry of Employment’s Labour Inspectorate begin looking into the agency’s actions. That when things began to change and a $140 million commitment to a massive cleanup was made. Unfortunately that action came too late for the family of Julian M.R., who died in October of 2018. The maintenance worker was just 60 when he died of asbestos-related lung cancer.
The suit against Metro de Madrid accuses the agency of leaving asbestos in place and providing no protections against the asbestos fibers that lead to mesothelioma, despite the fact that they were well aware of the dangers that the microscopic particles pose once inhaled. In addition to Julian M.R., another employee’s family is suing for wrongful death and two more who are still alive will also be filing suit.
In the United States, employees diagnosed with mesothelioma are not permitted to file negligence lawsuits against their employers — that is what workers’ compensation is for — but they are able to file claims against third parties who may have been responsible for their exposure to asbestos. For more information on your rights and how we can help, contact us at 1-800-966-2244.