Of all the environments that could expose a person to asbestos and put them at risk of malignant mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases, state prison is likely the last that would come to mind. But prison buildings built prior to the 1980s are just as likely to have used asbestos in the course of their construction as any other structure, and perhaps even more so. As a result, many prisoners have raised concerns about their own safety in buildings that are not only contaminated, but which also have inadequate ventilation. That is exactly what New Jersey prisoner David Wilson is claiming, and the United States District Court in New Jersey just gave him a green light to pursue with his asbestos lawsuit against several defendants.
According to the claim that was filed by David Wilson, he lives in fear of being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases as a result of what he claims are dangerous levels of asbestos and insufficient ventilation at the Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey. Wilson claims that he has already developed a chronic cough, and as a result he has named Warden John Powell of Bayside State Prison, Commissioner Gary Lanigan of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, and other John Doe defendants in his lawsuit. Though he also included the New Jersey Department of Corrections in his claims, the court has overruled his ability to sue them as a result of the state’s sovereign immunity laws. Though the other defendants filed a laundry list of motions and reasons for summary judgment, the judge in the case indicated that plaintiffs that are representing themselves are provided with wider latitude on the issues that were raised, and that Wilson had presented enough legal evidence for the case to move forward. The court reviewed his complaint and determined that his claims were neither malicious nor frivolous, that they were not improperly filed and that he could proceed without prepayment of fees based upon his unique circumstances.
Wilson’s claims against the defendants cite indifference to his health and safety as the cause for his action. In this, his lawsuit is remarkably similar to those filed by countless mesothelioma victims and others who were negligently exposed to asbestos. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and you need assistance, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.