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“From the first phone call through meetings at our home, depositions and the entire claim process, your firm and its people were absolutely wonderful. They were sensitive to our needs, answering all our questions and working diligently on our behalf. We're extremely grateful.”
— Sharie and Donald Duff, Redding, CA

“My husband and I had never been involved in a lawsuit before. Your firm made the process very easy and comfortable.”
— Elizabeth Alexander

“After my husband learned that he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, it gave him a great sense of relief to know that your firm was working so hard to ensure that our family would be taken care of.”
— Evelyn Jacobelly

“We were very pleased with the results. Everything went above and beyond what we had anticipated. I appreciated that someone always called us right back.”
— Carol Garside

“Your firm did a wonderful job. The total settlements we received exceeded our expectations. I was most happy that we received most of the money before my husband passed, and he had the comfort of knowing that I would be taken care of after his death.”
— Sharon F.

Wroughton Woman Wins Compensation over Husband’s Asbestos Death

A Wroughton woman has got £145,000 in damages from British Railways (BR) after the tragic death of her life partner from exposure to asbestos fibers.

Sheila Simpson launched the case following a post-mortem testing that showed Robin – her husband – died from malignant mesothelioma. He died within 12 months after he began feeling unwell.

The settlement was negotiated out of court. British Rail has agreed to pay Sheila Simpson all the legal expenses as well.

A top industrial illness attorney represented Mrs. Simpson in the case.

According to her attorney, Robin’s condition was diagnosed only after his terrible death. The attorney said this case is a good example to show how long an asbestos-related disease could take to develop and, once diagnosed, how fast it can kill the victim.

Robin joined British Railways when he was just 15 years old. He was a coach builder there. Robin had worked in many railway shops and in all those shops he was substantially exposed to toxic fibers of asbestos.

“Many coach builders in the U.K have died because of exposure to asbestos fibers at Swindon railway works,” Robin’s attorney said.

“Now the British Railway knows very well regarding the degree of this issue and the reality that a lot of individuals have developed diseases after working there. Robin was initially exposed to asbestos fibers at BR in year 1950. This implies asbestos-related diseases can take as much as 60 years to start showing their symptoms,” the attorney said. He said asbestos-linked deaths are likely to rise over the years to come.

A number of men as well as women are dying from asbestos-related diseases each year, and in most of the cases BR is the culprit. As many cases are linked to exposure to asbestos from Swindon railway works, it has also been labeled as “Swindon Disease” in the UK.

“It is vital for the individuals those who worked on the British Rail to remain cautious, especially if they believe they had exposed to asbestos. Asbestos is a notorious carcinogen and therefore, if they develop any type of chest issues, they must undergo a thorough medical checkup,” Simpson said.

“It is a good thing that the British Rail is now aware of the issue. If someone is able to show that they had worked there and exposed to asbestos, BR would usually settle the claim out of court – as what happened in this case too,” Simpson’s attorney said.

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Lab Technician Develops Pleural Thickening due to Occupational Asbestos Exposure

A retired lab technician is looking for info in a fight for justice that he initiated against his past employers. He was diagnosed with a fatal asbestos-related lung issue approximately 10 years after his retirement.

Geoffrey Maud, who resides in Stockton, developed a disease known as pleural thickening because of job with and around asbestos in steel factories and chemical industries during his employment that spanned approximately 50 years. Maud is staying with his wife Mrs. Margaret. He is 72 years old.

Maud, the grandfather of 2, is now in communication with some industrial illness experts to collect proof on the working conditions at Middlesbrough-based Dorman Long’s Redcar plant; British Titan Produts (Tioxide Ltd), Haverton Hill, Billingham; and Cleveland Chemicals, Billingham, where he worked as a technician and chemist.

Maud thinks he was exposed to the toxic dust of asbestos while working at factories because he normally wore gloves insulated with asbestos and used equipment like asbestos string. Maud states that he was regularly covered by poorly maintained asbestos-containing pipes.

“After I almost recovered from a stroke in year 2005, I believed the worst of health issues I’ve developed were behind me.

“But when I came to know that my health condition was because of exposure to asbestos, I was really shocked. I became frustrated as I could do nothing about it,” he said.

“I just could not believe that all the hard works all through my employment had been basically contributing to my disease. Unfortunately, nobody warned me that exposure to asbestos could have such severe impacts on my future health,” Maud said.

He initially began to find there was an issue when he started feeling breathless 3 years ago. Breathlessness is a major symptom of the asbestos-related lung problem known as pleural thickening. He became breathless and tired, and found increasing difficulty for walking. He says even simple routine tasks such as getting dressed made him feel exhausted.

In 2009, he was initially diagnosed with a respiratory illness. Then his condition started worsening. He began undergoing regular medical checkups at the North Tees Hospital. In year 2012, he was informed that he had developed pleural thickening that could have been caused by his asbestos exposure in the past.

One of the factors that make the diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases extremely hard is that they usually take decades to appear after an individual is exposed to asbestos fibers.

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Diner Debris Cleanup Gets Delayed by Asbestos Regulations

Kerhonkson, New York – Carol Mitchell, the owner of destroyed Rainbow Diner, lost love as well as livelihood when her diner burned on 2nd July.

Almost 6 months after that, Mitchell is stuck with all those damage still – without any fire insurance or ending in sight.

Mitchell, who is 27 years old, attempted to get rid of the mess along the major thoroughfare of Kerhonkson. Then a contractor said he was ready to remove all those debris from the burned site, but in exchange for authorization for selling the scrap metal. Mitchell thought that was fine.

“I was removing the diner for our community as quick as I was able to. I tried to get rid of that,” Mitchell said.

However, the state DoL (Labor Department) halted that work. The July demolition was halted by the Labor Department. They also stopped all the works till an authorized asbestos abatement contractor comes in handle the area. What resulted was a gridlock.

Mitchell says an asbestos abatement contractor would cost at least $80000, which she is not able to afford. In addition, the two-acre parcel along Rte 209 would cost $53800, according to town overseer Carl Chipman. Therefore, the problem remains as it is.

“I am doing the very best that I can. It is not a nice picture,” Mitchell said. She was operating the Rainbow Dine with her hubby George Haralobopoulos.

Elected authorities complain that the state was uncooperative as well as unresponsive regarding the needs of the community.

“There is a greater hazard to our people from the trash and the rats than that could have been because of asbestos,” said Chipman.

According to the state, it is just looking out for people’s well-being.

“Those steps were essential to make sure that the public is safe,” said Leo Rosales, the spokesman representing the state Labor Department.

Terry Bernardo, the county legislator, says asbestos should not be allowed to become airborne if it really poses a health threat.

The gridlock would be broken down if the asbestos treatment requirements are waived by the state – as what was done for Hurricane Sandy victims – or if public funds are available for cleaning up asbestos.

Still, there is likely no money from the state to be used for this, says Kristen McManus of the office of Assemblyman Kevin Cahill.

Mitchell hopes to know by this month end whether a public assistance or a waiver would be made available for her.

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350 Schools in Suffolk County have Asbestos, FoI Request Shows

A lot of schools in Suffolk could possibly contain dangerous asbestos, new data reveals.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request to the County Council has demonstrated that there are almost 350 schools still in the Suffolk County that could contain asbestos material.

A spokesperson representing the council said that an annual condition survey programme has been conducted at every site for monitoring the present condition of the toxic mineral. There are people appointed for regularly monitoring any changes in its condition. Between the surveys they monitor the condition on a day-to-day basis.

“The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has checked our administration system. The agency indicated that it is pleased with all our procedures,” the spokeswoman said.

“Our surveys have revealed that asbestos is there in schools only in solid materials’ form, for instance, asbestos cement. The fibers of asbestos are tightly locked then in the material’s matrix,” she said. “This type of asbestos poses a health threat only if the material is disturbed or broken. As long as it is stable, there is nothing to worry about because it doesn’t pose any risk,” she added.

According to Lisa Chambers, the cabinet member for the environment & property management, the asbestos administration plan of the council makes sure that the correct steps have been taken for minimizing the health hazards to everybody concerned.

According to the HSE, the person who has the duty to manage asbestos requires to: take sensible steps for finding out whether there are asbestos- containing materials in the non-domestic premises, and if yes, for finding out its amount, its location, and its present condition; presume that materials contain asbestos if there are no solid evidence that they do not; make and keep a record of location & condition of the asbestos-containing substances up-to-date – or substances that are believed to contain the dangerous mineral; assess anyone’s risk to be exposed to the dangerous fibers from the materials containing asbestos; prepare plan, which sets out in depth how to manage the risks from materials containing asbestos; take adequate steps for putting the plans into action; review & observe the plan as well as arrangements for acting on the substance periodically so that it remains up-to-date as well as relevant; and give information on the condition and location of the substances to anybody who is responsible to handle them.

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NCC to Remove Attic Asbestos Found at Rideau Hall

An attic situated in the official house of the governor general of Canada is tainted with asbestos material. And, it is not the only location the dangerous substance could be found in that structure.

Tenders have been invited by the NCC (National Capital Commission) for removing the asbestos material from the 1867 wing of the attic of the Rideau Hall. Remedial measures will start in this January and they should be finished before April 2013.

NCC spokesperson Jean Wolff says the attic is not occupied and asbestos material found there is stable as well as contained, and therefore, does not pose any human health risk.

Asbestos is being removed for preparing for copper roofing works in the future because that job could disturb the material if present, according to Wolff. As asbestos poses a human health risk when it is airborne, it is essential to remove the substance prior to the beginning of the roofing works, Wolff says.

Wolf says the ongoing work is a part of a long-term program for removing designated materials such as asbestos. Asbestos will be removed from the 6 official residences under the NCC management, according to Wolff.

He says Governor General Mr. David Johnston knows very well regarding the remaining work. Wolff said Johnston will be there in the residence at the time of asbestos removal. “All the routine activities at the hall will be performed as scheduled,” Johnston said.

As most of the attic job will occur directly over the residential areas, NCC has kept the power to order a stoppage of the work when residences are being used and also to ask the contractor to stop completely or to work somewhere else.

The work would be subject to regular aggressive air monitoring at the site’s perimeter. A consultant will be given the right to close down a work when it seems a leak may possibly occur or has occurred already.

Attic insulation containing asbestos is very common in old homes because asbestos was cheap and has excellent insulation properties as well. But, it has some unfortunate side effects as well. The consequences of asbestos exposure could be as benign as minor skin irritation. It could also be as terminal as mesothelioma and lung cancer. Because of its known hazards, asbestos is a highly regulated material and it should be handled with maximum care.

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Company Fined for Asbestos Violations

Karen Loeffler, a United States attorney, declared that Alaska-based company Copper River Campus admitted guilty to the charges of violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) for endangering others by negligently releasing dangerous asbestos fibers into the air at its 5th Avenue, Anchorage, property.

Chief federal judge Ralph Beistline ordered the company to pay fines of $70000 and serve 3 years on probation. As a part of his sentence, which was imposed in the beginning of the week, the judge also asked the company to hire an environmental consultant for ensuring that further environmental and safety standards violations won’t take place in the future.

Copper River owns as well as administers the buildings and the property occupied as well as utilized by Copper River Seafoods, situated at 1118 E 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK. The defendant company bought the buildings and the property in year 2009 realizing that the structures had asbestos-containing substances within their walls, floors and ceilings, and that special disposal and handling are required for these materials if the structures have to be torn down or renovated.

After the company bought the properties, and also with the knowledge of presence of asbestos-containing substances in the 2 buildings, Copper River asked an employee to tear down the older structure on the property. It asked other employees to start renovation works on newer building, which included the 1st level flooring. River Campus managers instructed the employee to go ahead with the tearing down process. The employee who carried out the tearing down process didn’t know regarding the presence of asbestos material in the structure.

On 16th March, 2010, as per the direction of River Campus, a River Seafoods staff member used a backhoe for beginning demolition of the older structure without doing anything for wetting down the asbestos materials or for safely removing asbestos-containing substances in the structure. The employee who operated the backhoe had not been given any special training and had not used any protective equipment or safety wears.

The EPA got a call on the very same day, which alerted the agency to the activities of the defendant company. The EPA sent an inspector then to that property. The work was subsequently halted. The dangerous debris from the partly torn-down structure was wetted down.

Before starting the demolition and renovation processes, River Campus failed to inform the EPA regarding the works or regarding the presence of asbestos-containing substances in the 2 structures on that property, according to Loeffler.

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Ex-shipyard Worker Wins Asbestos Compensation

An ex-shipyard worker, who is now living with the fear of developing lung cancer, has won an asbestos compensation.

Robert Kemp, of Sunderland, worked as an apprentice and later as a shipwright for 2 Wear yards. The man, who is 75 years old now, worked for the yards between 1950 and 1990.

In 2010 August, Kemp started suffering from a chest pain and a very bad cough. Then his doctors told him that most probably he had developed lung cancer. However, the cancer diagnosis was ruled out by a biopsy, but he was then diagnosed with a disease known as “diffuse pleural thickening.” The disease made Kemp, who was once the branch secretary of GMB union, breathless and incapable to walk far distances. He also became unable to carry out works at his home.

“The diagnosis had a disastrous impact on our lives,” Kemp said.

“It is really frustrating that I can’t do anything that I was normally able to carry out. I am worried that I’ll get asbestos-related lung cancer soon. I am living in this fear every time,” Kemp said.

Previously, Kemp had been diagnosed with the disease ‘pleural plaques’. After that, he approached an attorney for legal advice and he realized that he could win compensation for his present condition.

Kemp approached the law firm again when he was told by doctors that he might have had cancer. The lawyers successfully secured compensation in the case filed against the insurers of 2 of Kemp’s former employers.

What Kemp won now is a provisional settlement. Therefore, he can make a compensation claim further in case his present condition worsens because of his asbestos-related illness.

Asbestos is a fibrous silicate mineral occurring in the nature, which is found in various forms. Mainly there are 2 types of asbestos: Friable asbestos and non-friable asbestos.

When it is dry, the friable form of asbestos can be crushed, pulverised or powdered using hand pressure. This may include formerly non-friable asbestos material that has become damaged or broken.

Non-friable asbestos is normally mixed or bonded with materials such as cement. It can’t be pulverized, crumbled or powdered using hand pressure. They are less dangerous when compared to friable asbestos, which can easily be broken and release its fibers into the air. Asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and lung cancer are caused by the inhalation of these fibers.

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Attorneys Found Guilty in Asbestos-related Case

Two famous personal injury attorneys from Pittsburgh conspired with a radiologist from West Virginia for fabricating fake asbestos compensation claims against the railroad company CSX, a United States federal grand jury in West Virginia ruled on Thursday.

Lawyers Louis Raimond and Robert Peirce, together with Doctor Ray Harron, have been asked to pay US$429240. The amount can be tripled later under the 1970 Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

The award is an exceptional victory for corporations, which have complained for long about being unjustly victimized by crooked doctors, greedy patients and voracious law firms that bring fraudulent asbestos claims.

‘Peirce, Raimond and Coulter’, the former law firm of Mr. Peirce, targeted CSX, but the circumstances changed dramatically as the doctor and law firm were sued under the RICO statute, leveling the allegations that the parties were culpable of racketeering by fabricating claims.

According to the lawsuit, several claims involved claimants diagnosed by Harron who had lost medical license in year 2007. Harron lost his license as he allegedly made fraudulent diagnoses in 2005 Texas asbestos-related cases.

CSX said the company found numerous cases that Harron initially found the patients did not have asbestosis but changed the diagnoses later. The railroad company selected 11 of them to appear at court trial.

Peirce fought strongly and won summary judgment initially. However, CSX then appealed the ruling to the fourth Circuit Appeals Court that remanded the case 2 years ago for allowing the railroad company to amend the complaint. CSX amended it in year 2011 proceeded the case.

The trial began in Wheeling, West Virginia, on 11th December. For CSX, doctors testified that the claimants didn’t show any signs of asbestos-related lung disease. The 8-member jury deliberated more than 2 hours before deciding in favour of the railroad company.

“The ruling by the W. VA jury is indeed a clear declaration that the reliability of the civil justice system should be protected. We strongly believe that such deceptions in our legal system should be exposed,” said Marc Williams, the lawyer represented CSX.
Peirce said he is looking into his options now.

“Of numerous asbestos-related claims filed by us, CSX found 11 that the company believed did not have a reasonable basis,” Peirce said.

“For certain reasons that we are unable to understand, the court ignored our testimony. We are sure that the verdict was wrong, though we respect the legal process and jury system,” Peirce said.

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Former Employee Sues Ethyl Corporation and other companies in Asbestos Case

Baton Rouge, Louisiana – A man from Baton Rouge is suing a number of Louisiana manufacturing companies and a local corporation, claiming that the defendants exposed him to toxic fibers of asbestos.

The case was filed by Melvin Toups against Anco Insulations, Ethyl Corporation, Georgia Pacific, McCarty Corp, Reilly Benton, Union Carbide Corp, and Taylor-Seindenbach on 19th November in the 19th Judicial Circuit Court.

The plaintiff claims that the asbestos material to which he was exposed while working at Ethyl Corp caused him to develop deadly lung cancer.

Toups states that he was negligently exposed to asbestos from 1950 till the 1970s while working as an operator, construction contractor and boiler tender.

The defendants named in the suit have engaged in mining, processing, producing, installing, maintaining, selling, using and/or distributing asbestos or products containing asbestos or machinery requiring asbestos, the suit alleges.

Toups says the defendants exposed him to asbestos fibers and caused him to breath in asbestos fibers on innumerous occasions.

The defendant companies allegedly failed to adequately and promptly warn Toups regarding the hazards of asbestos exposure, failed to provide him with info about sufficient and safe wearing equipment and adequate protective devices and appliances, failed to take sensible precautionary measures or exercise enough care to establish a good safety plan to handle and install asbestos, failed to develop and use a material for eliminating asbestos fibers present in the products, failed to adequately design and make asbestos, failed to sufficiently test products, and failed to remove or recall asbestos products from market.

The employers, their directors and executive officers failed to ensure and provide a safe working atmosphere for the employees; failed to inspect and oversee the plaintiff’s work; failed to make a proper decision on requirements of any respiratory protection equipment; failed to provide proper warnings, safety equipment, breathing and ventilation apparatus; failed to train the employees properly; and failed to abide by applicable federal and state regulations concerning workplace exposure to asbestos.   The plaintiff accuse Ethyl Corp of  failing to reveal, or warn vital safety and medical info about asbestos; failing to promptly eliminate asbestos from work place; failing to adequately monitor or supervise work areas to ensure compliance with state and federal safety regulations; and failing to ensure safety by minimizing the amount of toxic asbestos dust and fibers in the air.

Toups is seeking unspecified compensation for all his pain and sufferings.

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OH Senate Panel Moves Forward Asbestos Bill

Columbus, OH – An OH Senate committee has moved a bill forward on Tuesday intended to curb duplicate suits over the occupational exposure to asbestos in a state with a very large backlog of that sort of cases.

The entire Senate is expected to vote in favor of the measure on Wednesday. In January, the house had given approval to the bill that preserves rights of the victim to file lawsuit when injured by the white carcinogenic substance and does not cap the amount of damages they may receive.

The bill would need workers to divulge every asbestos claim they filed or filed on behalf of them or face charges of perjury.

According to proponents, it would stop double-dipping by asbestos victims and the victims have 2 different ways to pursue damages: trusts established by occasionally bankrupted firms for compensating victims or suits against lively businesses.

However, critics say the legislation impedes genuine asbestos claims. They argue the passage of the bill will make OH the very first state in the United States that imposes such restrictions on claims. Similar bill has been also introduced in Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Louisiana, and in the United States Senate and House.

Claims relating to asbestos exposure are rapidly increasing all over the country. In excess of 8500 United States corporations in various sectors representing almost 85% of the nation’s economy have asbestos-related claims against them, legislative analysts say. The Supreme Court in the U.S. has labeled this a crisis.

“The issue with the 2 tracks is the lack of complete transparency between them. In a suit, claimants can tell the court regarding the claims made already on trusts. But, they are needless to reveal in court whether they are planning claims with the trusts in the future. Because of this, the system is out of control with conflicting claims and fraud, and also with double-dipping from lawsuit awards and trust accounts,” the proponents say.

Till last September, Cuyahoga County had in excess of 5700 cases that are pending on asbestos docket, making it one of the busiest dockets in America, information from the Supreme Court in Ohio says. Cases are pending in 70 or more of the 88 Ohio counties as well.

“The bill is meant for giving a handout to asbestos industry whilst robbing dying victims of their legal rights,” said Asbestos Victims Coalition president Anthony Gallucci.

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