Residents and former employees alike are voicing mesothelioma concerns after a lawsuit has accused a Portland property management of covering up their mismanagement of in-place asbestos in a building under renovation. The lawsuit has been filed by two former employees, who are charging Tandem Property Management with conspiracy and wrongful termination: they are seeking $40 million in damages.
The presence of asbestos in a workplace or home environment is a known cause of malignant mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that has no known cure. Asbestos has been very much in the news in recent days as the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency seeks to rein in efforts to ban the carcinogenic material and to avoid investigating the health effects of asbestos that is already in place, as it apparently was in the Commons at Sylvan Highlands apartment complex managed by Tandem Property Management. According to the lawsuit, workers doing a renovation project at the site discovered what they believed to be asbestos and immediately stopped their work and reported their findings to the company’s management. The response was surprising: the company’s president, Thomas Cleary, arrived at the site and was reportedly “furious,” yelling that “there was no asbestos and that they all needed to get back to work,” the lawsuit said.
Following this episode, Khataun Thompson was assigned to the site and also discovered what he thought might be asbestos and – concerned about the risk of mesothelioma – reported it to his manager. An asbestos test was ordered, which later confirmed the presence of the carcinogen. At the same time that a positive result came back, Thomas was notified that he was being terminated, and a told, “We don’t have to disclose why we’re ending our working relationship with you.” His fiancee Alyssa De Weeese, who also worked for the company, was fired a week and a half later after refusing Tandem’s request that she “help Tandem engage in apparent intimidation and retaliation against an employee aware of the asbestos test result.” In speaking about her firing, De Weese said, “I believe they were in fear for their own company and the possibility of me letting others know about the asbestos and what all was happening.”
Additional investigations revealed that the company may also have been negligent in their transportation of asbestos through the apartment complex, potentially exposing residents to the carcinogenic material and the risk of mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other serious illnesses. The situation is currently under investigation by the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Negligent or careless handling of asbestos can lead to tragic results, and has been the cause of countless cases of malignant mesothelioma. If you or someone you love has been affected by this type of behavior, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.