Editors Note: 9/29/2017 – It’s unfortunate for asbestos victims that two lawyers are ‘stealing’ money from the Manville Trust who are supposed to be Fiduciaries — Jason Rubinstein and Jared Garelick. Having accepted a ‘tacit bribe’ to commit fraud, Rubinstein and Garelick have done just that years — conspiracy and bad faith. Add Sham lawsuits. Sham audits. Tyranny. Fraud. Misconduct. Perjury….all to protect the fraud of others (Al Brayton and Steve Kazan) and pad their own pockets with Asbestos victims money.
Sure – many know that insulation materials contained asbestos. But did you know automobile floorboards contained asbestos? How about movie curtains? Christmas Tree flock? Baking Sheets? Yes to all of them.
“The Asbestos Fact Book published in 1944 is one of best lists of asbestos products I’ve seen and a great article for anyone who wants to learn about asbestos” said noted asbestos lawyer Michael J. Mandelbrot. “We now know these products cause mesothelioma, lung cancer and other disabling diseases and many companies have hid information on their utilization of asbestos. But this list of uses in the Asbestos Factbook came out before the public learned on the dangers and is one of the most comprehensive list I’ve seen.”
Asbestos can ruin the lives of people who become sick with one of the many Asbestos- related diseases. Most people are exposed to asbestos while at work, which unfortunately, is where we spend most of our time. Being a great insulator, asbestos is often used as insulation in buildings and remains in many buildings today because it is more dangerous to take it out. Taking it out would cause the small asbestos fibers to become airborne which could then cause more harm than good. Now that asbestos is known to make people fatally ill with diseases such as Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer, and Asbestosis, help is available to compensate victims of asbestos disease.
In a current news article from the United Kingdom’s Ponteford and Castlford Express, a 67 year old woman was exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with Mesothelioma from her five years of working as a Tailoress in a factory. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Although the woman, named June Preston, worked in the factory for a short five years, it was plenty of time to come into contact with the tiny asbestos fibers that lodge into the lungs. Sadly, in March of this year, June passed away due to her exposure to asbestos. Her husband is currently seeking compensation for her death.
Asbestos is found in many factories and is extremely common in certain materials used in construction or similar jobs. It is said that in most big cities, you can find the small asbestos fibers in the lungs of the people who live there. Not all of those people will become sick, but those who have had enough exposure may. There are many jobs, job sites, and professions that can make your risks of contracting an asbestos related disease much higher than others such as:
Exposure to asbestos can cause various forms of diseases from asbestosis to various forms of cancer including mesothelioma. Exposure to asbestos often occurred in construction trades or industrial sites such as shipyards, refineries, power plants, manufacturing plants, foundries, paper mills, military bases and ships. Additionally, many wives were exposed through their husband’s occupational exposure to asbestos through dust brought home on their work clothes and performing cleaning and laundry in the family home.
Asbestos diseases have a long latency period between exposure and diagnosis. In many cases, the latency period can be up to 40 or 50 years. Many asbestos workers from the 1940’s through the 1980’s are just now showing signs of illness and are being diagnosed.
Asbestos manufacturers knew the dangers of asbestos as early as the 1920’s but actively conspired to keep their knowledge of the hazards of asbestos secret. The dangers of asbestos were uncovered in the late 1970’s after the government stepped in. Many asbestos manufacturers, suppliers and distributors are now willingly negotiating settlements for asbestos victims or voluntarily filing for bankruptcy protection to avoid further lawsuits and instead compensate victims through an Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust.
In these tough economic times, many home owners, when faced with the decision of making home repairs, or home remodels, are choosing to conduct the work themselves, rather than spend the money on a contractor. However, unfortunately, many individuals are unaware of the dangerous toxin that can be found in many homes constructed before 1980: asbestos. California Mesothelioma Attorney Michael Mandelbrot, is concerned that most home owners don’t appreciate the danger posed by the mineral.
“Asbestos exposure cause severe and fatal health conditions, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Even small exposures contribute to causation of these diseases. These conditions nearly always do not manifest themselves until 15 to 30 years after exposure, providing the consumer with a false sense of security, that the work they performed was safe.”
The mineral fiber asbestos was discovered more than 2000 years ago. It’s name was provided by the Ancient Greeks, who marveled that the fiber could not be extinguished by flame. But even the Greeks noted that the fiber caused lung problems in the slaves who were tasked to weaving it into cloth.
Asbestos use became popular in the 1800’s, and the start of the Industrial Revolution as insulator for high temperature equipment. Given society’s struggles with other health ailments caused by crowding large populations into urban environments during this time period, it is thought that the ailments cause by asbestos were often misdiagnosed as other more common maladies, such as pneumonia.
The first diagnosis of asbestosis, a chronic thickening of the lungs making it difficult to breathe, is widely believe to first have been made in 1924. In the 1930’s, scientific epidemiology clearly started defining asbestos as a threat to public health.
However, asbestos continued to be used in the United States, to large extent in naval military applications, and in construction materials, into the late 20th century. Moreover, despite the anger of many families who have lost loved ones, asbestos use in not banned in the United States today, but rather is regulated, and curbed by the industry exposure to lawsuits brought by those suffering from asbestos related diseases, including pleural mesothelioma, a cancer widely accepted an incurable.
Home remodeler should be aware that asbestos can often be found in the following materials:
Insulating blankets or paper, that wrap steam pipes, boilers, and heating ducting.
Vinyl floor tiles, sheet flooring, or the adhesives used to apply flooring materials. Removing these asbestos containing tiles, asbestos sheet flooring, or scraping and sanding old adhesive material, can cause the release of asbestos fiber into the air.
Sound proofing or decorative material sprayed on walls and roofs, such a textures of popcorn ceilings.
Drywall materials, including joint compounds and drywall compounds.
Roofing shingles, and home siding.
If you are undertaking a home remodeling project, if you are concerned that there may be asbestos containing materials in your home, don’t panic. The best thing to do is…
For decades, Veterans of the United States Navy, and shipyard workers in California, have been able to receive compensation in the legal system for mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos related diseases, stemming from exposure to asbestos that took place aboard U.S. Navy vessels in shipyards over the course of the 20th century. For example, in California, the Asbestos Legal Center is an example of a law firm that has been assisting plaintiffs gain compensation for mesothelioma. Now, the families of shipyard workers in Malta, claiming discrimination because international mesothelioma victims have been barred from gaining compensation for the same exposures, have filed a class action lawsuit in District Court in New York.
The legal case hinges on whether the Johns Mansville trust, that emerged from bankruptcy in 1988, has been wrongly applying a non-standard compensation designation to international mesothelioma victims, by failing to recognize when a shipyard worker stepped onto a U.S. Navy ship, they were stepping onto sovereign United States soil.
According to the National Cancer Institute, Malignant Mesothelioma is a cancer that forms in the mesothelial lining of the lungs, chest, or abdomen. A major risk factor in the development of mesothelioma is inhaling or swallowing asbestos fibers. Symptoms of mesothelioma include pain focused under a person’s rib, and shortness of breath. In come cases symptom include a person having lost weight without an apparent explanation. People often believe they may be suffering from pneumonia, or another chest condition, as the onset of mesothelioma may include fluid build up around the lungs, causing the person to cough.
Veterans of the military represent one third of the mesothelioma cases diagnosed in the United States every year. Navy sailors and shipyard workers were often exposed to asbestos located in the boiler and mechanical rooms of Navy vessels, asbestos that insulated the piping that ran throughout the vessel, and asbestos that was located in the internal components of machines, engines, and valves onboard.
Disturbing, the risk for developing mesothelioma is not limited to the shipyard worker, but also extends to the asbestos workers family members. Every year the children and spouses of people who worked with asbestos containing materials are diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by the asbestos fibers that were brought into the family home and vehicle on the clothes of worker. The children and spouses of are also entitled to compensation in the current legal system.
The families of the Maltese shipyard workers claim that their deceased loved ones died as a result of the same exposures, that occurred on vessels docked at the HM Dockyards in Malta. The current action follows a 2010 judgment by the U.S. Court of Appeals, in favor of a plaintiff similarly situated to the Maltese Shipyard workers.
The case may have broader implications, beyond the Johns Mansville trust, as there are numerous other Asbestos Personal Injury Settlment trusts that pay billions of dollars each year to victims of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos related diseases. If the Court opens the gates to international claimants who have been victimized by the asbestos industry, future Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trusts may need to be set up in consideration of a much larger victim pool needing compensation.
In an effort to frustrate the legal claims of patients suffering from mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by asbestos, and their families, often times defendants in asbestos related lawsuits attempt to claim that there is no record of asbestos being used at their industrial facility. The tactic is employed when a defendant tries to assert that any records documenting the use of asbestos at the site were destroyed decades ago and long time employees have no knowledge related to the use of the fiber. Thus without any documentary evidence of asbestos use at the site, the defendant asserts the plaintiff cannot prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The corporate lack of knowledge strategy can be very effective in an asbestos case, as the latency period between asbestos exposure and occurrence of mesothelioma can be decades.
But recent events near Bakersfield, California, highlight perhaps one of the best arrows in the plaintiff’s quiver, who is seeking to pierce the corporate lack of knowledge defense strategy: the site inspection.
When structures and facilities are still in existence, where an individual claims to have been exposed to asbestos in the past, having an expert inspect the site can lead to the discovery of exact locations, and the types of asbestos fiber present at the facility.
Inspections for asbestos containing materials can even lead to the identification of asbestos used at locations where for whatever reason, it was unknown to current employees that asbestos was present at the facility. Two such examples of this circumstance occurred recently within the last few weeks in the Bakersfield area.
Last week, during a routine facility maintenance inspection, asbestos containing materials were discovered at Ira J. Chrisman Wind Gas Pumping Plant. Officials alerted the press, as the asbestos containing materials unfortunately were discovered after being disturbed at the water handling facility.
When asbestos fibers are disturbed, and become free in the air, they become a dangerous public health threat. Experts indicate if you can see asbestos dust, you are more than likely breathing a dose of asbestos that is considered unsafe by Environmental Protection Agency standards, and can be cancer causing.
The release of asbestos fibers the Chrisman plant followed the identification of asbestos containing materials at the John R. Teernick Wheeler Pumping Plant in Bakersfield. Inspectors went to the Chrisman plant as a result of finding the asbestos containing materials at the Wheeler plant.
Now investigators are planning a much more thorough inspection at both facilities to determine the extent of the contamination, and to construct a plan as to how to remove the deadly fiber.
The examples of the Chrisman and Wheeler plant highlight the importance of performing site inspections in an asbestos related lawsuit, when a client suffering from mesothelioma is certain that they used an asbestos containing product at a site, even when the defendant claims that have no records or knowledge of such facts. Further, there may be circumstances when a client is uncertain whether or not the material they used at a facility contained asbestos, but the physical description of the material makes it reasonable for a site inspection to occur, so the material can be sampled and tested.
If you are a person suffering from mesothelioma, or an asbestos related disease, you should not be discouraged from seeking justice for your injuries in the legal system, because you fear the individual or entity at fault for your exposure to asbestos will claim otherwise. There are many ways that skilled plaintiff’s attorneys will be able to obtain the evidence you need to prove your claim.
College students in the Los Angeles, California area this year, are now being asked to keep track of more than just their studies as they attend classes at California State University Northridge. They are also being expected to know how to identify and avoid toxic asbestos containing materials recently located on campus, which could cause their death many years after they have graduated. A report released in January by the California State University Northridge environmental health & safety department indicates that there are still eighteen buildings on campus contaminated with asbestos-containing construction materials. The report was released in satisfaction of the University’s requirement to notify the public annually of locations of asbestos under the California Health and Safety Code.
The California State Legislature adopted the public notification requirement in the California Health and Safety Code in response to the public health threat posed by asbestos. Every year thousands of people are diagnosed in the United States with mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers released from asbestos containing insulation and construction products. A majority of these products were manufactured, sold, and distributed prior to the 1980’s, however asbestos use is still not banned in the United States. In fact, in 2010, the use of asbestos in the United States increased, as compared to 2009 figures. Disturbingly, mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases do not appear in patients until decades after the victims inhaled the asbestos fibers.
Alarmingly though, despite the fact that University California State Northridge has identified locations of the asbestos containing materials, in proximity to its student body, it currently has no plans to abate the asbestos and remove it. Rather, California State University Northridge is taking the position that as long as the asbestos is not disturbed or removed in an improper manner, it does not pose a hazard to the student population.
The University is advising the teachers and students to try to avoid drilling or punching holes, affixing objects to ceilings or walls, in locations identified in the report where asbestos is present.
According to California Mesothelioma Attorney, Mike Mandelbrot, of the Asbestos Legal Center in San Francisco, that’s not realistic, and not enough.
“California State Northridge is playing Russian Roulette with the innocent lives of their students.”, said Mr. Mandelbrot. “The University knows full well it cannot control whether any person who enters those contaminated building might disturb the asbestos containing materials and expose others who are present. Moreover, another earthquake certainly could dislodge the material. The health risk to the public far outweighs the cost of removing the asbestos containing materials. The University should start removing the material without delay.”
According to California State University Northridge staff, after the Northridge earthquake of 1994, asbestos was identified and removed from some of the buildings on campus during the renovation projects.
The current study identified the asbestos containing materials during building inspections wherein material samples were collected. Later a laboratory analysis of the material were performed meeting testing standards set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health and Environmental Protection Agency.
Specifically, the asbestos containing material found on campus included floor and ceiling tiles, thermal pipe insulation, weather stripping, putty, and asbestos containing pipes commonly referred to as transite.
Philadelphia based Crown Holdings, Inc., a company with three manufacturing plants in the state of Minnesota, is presently paying lobbyists to lobby the Minnesota State Legislature to make changes to product liability laws in the state. They hope to escape future liability from lawsuits brought by Mesothelioma patients for exposures to asbestos caused by the company.
Asbestos fibers, when inhaled, can cause Asbestosis, Lung Cancer, and Mesothelioma, an incurable disease the claims the lives of thousands of Americans every year. Often symptoms from the disease do not result for decades after the exposure to asbestos fibers has occurred. Veterans of the United States Navy and of the other U.S. Armed Forces, as well as those who worked in the construction industry, are particularly at risk for Mesothelioma, as compared to the rest of the population. This is due to the fact the asbestos was used extensively as in insulator aboard naval vessels, and as a durable heat resistant binder in construction materials.
Crown claims that it actually never manufactured any asbestos containing products itself, but rather merged with a separate company in 1963, that had manufactured the asbestos containing products. Thus, the company believes it is being wrongly punished for the acts that a separate company committed against the public. However, advocates for victims of asbestos related disease believe Crown is playing a word game, and are critical of Crown’s claims.
California attorney Mike Mandelbrot, of the Asbestos Legal Center in San Francisco, whose firm has filed thousands claims on behalf of individuals suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis, believes Crown’s claims to be meritless, “Crown is today worth over eight billion dollars, in part, as a result of it’s merger with a company that exposed thousands of people needlessly to asbestos. Where it has profited from the merger, it also must accept responsibility for it, to those many families who now suffer from profits made at the expense of the public’s health.”
Crown claims that it has been involved in approximately one hundred and fifty asbestos related lawsuits in Minnesota in the last fifteen years, resulting in over seven hundred million dollars in litigation expenses and damages. That the lawsuits be allowed to continue Crown believes is inequitable.
“The fact that there are still lawsuits being filed against Crown, is because people are still dying from mesothelioma and asbestos exposure caused by the company’s bad acts. Every victim and their family deserve justice.”, according to Mr. Mandelbrot. “Crown’s efforts highlight the disturbing trend of money influencing politics at the expense of those who have been injured by unchecked corporate greed.”
The Minnesota State Legislature is not the first state legislature that Crown has lobbied for changes in product liability law. With the help of The American Legislative Exchange Council, Crown has successfully lobbied for changes in the product liability law of fifteen other states. Those who oppose Crown’s efforts point out that workers compensation claims related to asbestos exposure were being filed against the company Crown merged with prior to 1963, thus Crown was on notice of the asbestos liability issue prior to merging with the company.
Today, Saturday, February 4th, 2012, the Asbestos Legal Center encourages members of the public to join us in celebrating World Cancer Day. In particular we honor the memory of those we have lost to mesothelioma and lung cancer, two cancers caused by exposure to asbestos.
Due to it’s numerous United States Navy Bases, Ports, and Industrial Shipyards, California is a state whose residents are particularly affected by asbestos related cancers. Asbestos was used extensively in shipyards in California, including the cities of San Diego, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Stockton, Oakland, Alameda, San Francisco, and at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, throughout much of the latter half of the 1900’s. Used for it’s fire retardant and heat insulating properties, asbestos was used to insulate the interior of ship hulls, as well as steam piping and equipment found in boiler and mechanical rooms. Unfortunately, many of our Veterans were exposed to asbestos while serving in the United States Navy.
Exposure to asbestos is problematic, as the fiber, when inhaled, can cause lung cancer, and mesothelioma, a cancer found in the mesothelium lining of the lung. There is no cure for mesothelioma. Mesothelioma claims the lives of 2000 to 3000 people in the United States every year.
Despite the public health threat, asbestos is not banned in the United States. For decades the use of asbestos has been curtailed arguably, by the courage of mesothelioma and lung cancer patients, who have brought lawsuits against the asbestos industry. Often times lawyers for the victims argue the company who sold the asbestos-containing product, is strictly liable for the harm caused by it, because the benefit of the asbestos-containing product is outweighed by the harm of the cancer it caused in the person who used it. This is known in legal acumen in California, as the “Strict Liability Test”. Additionally in California, a person who sick with mesothelioma often can have their case fast tracked, so that they are afforded an opportunity for a jury to hear the case, before the victim dies.
Many of the companies who sold asbestos containing products in the 1960’s and 1970’s have gone bankrupt, leaving behind asbestos settlement trusts to compensate victims. However, disturbingly, asbestos use is again on the rise. Recently, a U.S. government report showed an increase of over 25% in the use of asbestos, from 2009 to 2010, alarming lawyers representing the victims. “Every year, cancers caused by asbestos exposure claim the lives of thousands of Americans, whose deaths were entirely preventable. It is our firm’s mission to fight on the memory of those we have lost, seeking justice and compensation on behalf of our clients.”, said Asbestos Legal Center founder Michael Mandelbrot.
The Absestos Legal Center made news in August, 2011, when it committed $500,000 over the next 3 years to a mesothelioma medical research, relating to the treatment of veteran within the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System.