Asbestos is a carcinogenic material, and people who are exposed to significant amounts of the mineral are at risk for malignant mesothelioma and other serious illnesses. Most people who are exposed to asbestos can point to their work environment, and an asbestos-contaminated product or products that they used. But for a group of neighbors and employees in New Richmond, Minnesota who are now living under a cloud of worry about asbestos-related disease, the source of their exposure is a single man. This week a federal judge sentenced that man to twelve years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
The man, 49-year-old Lloyd Robl, was sentenced after having been found guilty of numerous asbestos violations that put his clients, his employees, and even his friends’ children at risk. Robl’s asbestos abatement license was taken away from him in 2001 due to improper procedures, but rather than trying to requalify or find another line of work, he continued to offer asbestos abatement services. He was able to undercut his competitors’ pricing because he did not follow appropriate handling or disposal procedures, then provided forged certificates to those for whom he worked. Evidence at trial showed that he hired employees who were addicted to methamphetamines and did not provide them with protective gear. He also improperly transported and disposed of asbestos waste, using an open trailer that left a trail of asbestos debris wherever the material went.
The risk of contracting mesothelioma as a result of breathing in asbestos fibers went beyond his employees. Robl also dumped materials near waterways and on the sides of roadways, and even left material at a Boy Scout camp and several other sites. He illegally burned asbestos in barrels in back of his house while children were around, and allowed the fires to grow out of control. This resulted in firefighters and police officers responding to emergency calls that also exposed them to asbestos fibers.
After learning of Lloyd Robl’s illegal actions and recklessness, former girlfriend Kate McKusick focused on the risk of mesothelioma for herself, her daughter and for others. “Lloyd downplayed the risk. How the hell could I be so stupid and he be so selfish,” McKusick said. Did you ever think you were giving me and others an early death sentence?” Even a dog park close to his residence had to be closed down for testing, and two of his properties required remediation.
Asbestos is a dangerous material that can cause mesothelioma in anybody that has been exposed to it. If you or someone you love has suffered as a result of somebody else’s negligence or recklessness involving asbestos, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244