A roundup of recent asbestos-related news and information that you should be aware of. An ongoing list of reported asbestos hot spots in the US from the Asbestos News Roundup archive appears on our asbestos map.
US Navy Veterans are at a particularly high risk for asbestos-related disease, due to their asbestos exposure while working on navy ships undergoing refits. But because asbestos-related disease can take up to 30 years or more to manifest, it is often detected long after men have left the Navy.
The states with the most US Navy Veterans include California, Florida, New York, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Massachusetts, Washington, Maine, Oregon, Arizona, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Montana, Kansas, North Dakota, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Mississippi.
US Navy Veterans are not the only group of workers at high risk for asbestos exposure. Men and women who worked in power plants, manufacturing factories, chemical plants, oil refineries, mines, smelters, aerospace manufacturing facilities, demolition construction work sites, railroads, automotive manufacturing facilities, or auto brake shops may also have been exposed to high levels of asbestos.
St. Clair County, IL: Jeanne Belman, special administrator of deceased Marcella Goedeke estate, has filed an asbestos lawsuit against CSX Transportation, alleging the company is responsible for the developing asbestos mesothelioma and Goedeke’s subsequent death.
Filed a lawsuit March 14, the lawsuit claims the railway allowed its employees to be exposed to asbestos despite being aware of the associated adverse health risks.
Specifically, Belman alleges that Goedeke suffered second hand asbestos exposure to asbestos fibers that clung to her husband’s work clothing. Goedeke’s husband worked at The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. When Goedeke’s husband came home, she inhaled and ingested the asbestos fibers that were on his clothes, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit claims that the asbestos mesothelioma caused Goedeke great pain and disability, and that she endured serious mental anguish and extreme nervousness and incurred significant medical costs, the suit states. She passed away on March 18, 2012, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit claims Goedeke’s asbestos disease could have been avoided had The Baltimore and Railroad Company heeded the advice of experts in 1935 who warned the railroad to educate all its employees about asbestos fibers. According to the complaint, the experts also advised the company to get rid of asbestos dust, to sprinkle the working area with water, to have employees wear inhalers and to have frequent analyses made of the dust content of air at different times during work hours.
Instead, Belman alleges the railroad negligently exposed Goedeke’s husband to asbestos, allowed him to carry the asbestos with him into his home, failed to warn him that it could cause disease, failed to prevent him from being exposed to the asbestos, failed to provide him with protective clothing and allowed unsafe work practices to become routine.
Eventually, The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company was taken over by CSX, which Belman named as a defendant in her complaint that seeks damages under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Belman is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs. (madisonrecord.com)
St. Clair County, IL: Nicole Lockett has filed an asbestos lawsuit naming 21 defendant corporations which, she alleges, caused the Randle R. Lockett Sr. to develop mesothelioma after his exposure to asbestos-containing products throughout his father’s career. He subsequently died of his asbestos disease.
According to the lawsuit, Randle R. Lockett Sr.’s father worked in the military and at ICBM and Minuteman and MX missile site maintaining and repairing silos. The defendants should have known of the harmful effects of asbestos, but failed to exercise reasonable care and caution for Mr. Lockett`s father`s safety, the suit states. As a result of his asbestos-related disease, Randle R. Lockett Sr. became disabled and disfigured, incurred medical costs and suffered great physical pain and mental anguish, the complaint says. Additionally, he was prevented from pursuing his normal course of employment and, as a result, lost large sums of money that would have accrued, the lawsuit states.
Nicole Lockett is seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, compensatory damages of more than $200,000, punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish the defendants for their misconduct and other relief the court deems just.(madionsrecord.com)
St. Clair County, IL: An asbestos lawsuit has been filed by Betty G. Crutchfield naming 41 defendant corporations, which, she claims, caused Donald Crutchfield Sr. to develop lung cancer after his exposure to asbestos-containing products throughout his career. Mr. Crutchfield died from his asbestos disease.
As a result of his asbestos-related illness Donald Crutchfield Sr. became disabled and disfigured, incurred medical costs and suffered great physical pain and mental anguish, Betty Crutchfield claims. In addition, he were prevented from pursuing his normal course of employment and, as a result, lost large sums of money that would have accrued to him, the lawsuit states.
Betty G. Crutchfield is seeking a judgment of more than $300,000, compensatory damages of more than $100,000, punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish the defendants for their misconduct and other relief the court deems just. (madisonrecord.com)
New York, NY: A $980,000 judgement has been upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit entered against defendant Cleaver Brooks. The court found that the plaintiff presented enough evidence at trial to support a causal link between the defendant’s asbestos-containing boilers and the deceased Kit L. McCormick illness.
Kelly McCormick filed the asbestos lawsuit on behalf of her husband, Kit L. McCormick, who was injured allegedly as a result of asbestos exposure. (harrismartin.com)
A roundup of recent asbestos-related news and information that you should be aware of. An ongoing list of reported asbestos hot spots in the US from the Asbestos News Roundup archive appears on our asbestos map.
Many workplaces in the US are now considered to have put workers at high-risk for asbestos exposure—decades ago. These include: US Navy, oil refineries, shipyards, chemical manufacturing facilities, aerospace manufacturing facilities, mines, smelters, coal fired power plants, construction work sites, auto repair shops, plumbers, welders, electricians, and most manufacturing, or industrial plants that were operating in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s.
Sadly, many individuals who served in the US Navy, worked at a power plant, an oil refinery, or a shipyard decades ago are now being diagnosed with asbestos disease—the average age of diagnosis of asbestos mesothelioma is 72 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC).
Although strict regulations about the use of asbestos have been put in place, the potential for asbestos exposure remains. In 2009, the CDC reported:
“Although asbestos has been eliminated in the manufacture of many products, it is still being imported (approximately 1,730 metric tons in 2007) and used in the United States in various construction and transportation products. Ensuring a future decrease in mesothelioma mortality requires meticulous control of exposures to asbestos and other materials that might cause mesothelioma. Recent studies suggest that carbon nanotubes (fiber-shaped nanoparticles), which are increasingly being used in manufacturing, might share the carcinogenic mechanism postulated for asbestos and induce mesothelioma, underscoring the need for documentation of occupational history in future cases.” The full report can be accessed at the CDC’s webpage. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5815a3.htm
Jefferson County, TX: The family of recently deceased William Ray Furlong have filed an asbestos lawsuit against EI DuPont De Nemours and Co. alleging the company is responsible for Mr. Furlong’s asbestos illness and subsequent death.
Virginia Furlong, wife, and Helen Furlong Moity, daughter, allege Dupont knowingly exposed William Furlong to toxic and carcinogenic dusts including asbestos during the time he worked at Dupont’s Works Facility in Beaumont.
According to the suit, William Furlong developed mesothelioma from which he died in 2012.
The Furlongs are seeking more than $100,000 in damages. (setexasrecord.com)
Erie County, NY: A $3 million settlement has been awarded to the family of a man who contracted and died from asbestos mesothelioma. According to the lawsuit, the deceased, Gerald Suttner, worked at the GM Powertrain Facility in Tonawanda, New York, and involved repairing valves manufactured by Crane and other manufacturers, valves which contained asbestos gaskets and packing materials. It wasn’t until after Suttner had retired from the GM plant that he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. He passed away just 12 months later, at the age of 77. Suttner’s family subsequently sued the companies which made asbestos-containing products.
The plaintiff’s surviving family filed suit in the Supreme Court of Erie County, New York for product liability and wrongful death. The plaintiffs sought recovery for compensatory and punitive damages against Crane and numerous other manufacturers of asbestos-creating products the decedent had been exposed to. The plaintiff asserted that Crane had known as early as the 1930s of the hazardous qualities of asbestos and failed to warn the deceased. (jvra.com)
Philadelphia, PA: A $75,000 award for damages has been granted in a whistleblower lawsuit. Filed by a city police officer, the lawsuit claimed that the police officer’s superiors retaliated against him after he complained of shoddy asbestos removal at the Police Athletic League center he managed in Philadelphia.
The judge hearing the case ordered that Zenak, 44, a 23-year veteran officer, be returned to his job as manager of the PAL center at Wissinoming United Methodist Church, 4419 Comly St., and reimbursed $75,000 for 2711/2 days of leave he used after suing and $411 in medical expenses.
In 2012, Zenak filed suit under Pennsylvania’s “whistle-blower” law, naming the city, Police Department, PAL, church and J. Bailey Builders, the New Jersey-based contractor, as defendants.
According to the lawsuit, Zenak had managed the PAL center since 2008. In 2011, the contractor doing renovations told him there was exposed asbestos wrapping 60 feet of pipe hanging in the room where children did homework. Several weeks later, after Zenak found the pipe insulation gone and a layer of dust everywhere, he complained to his superiors, and he got the first of several reprimands, the PhillyNews reports.
A civil suit is pending which seeks medical monitoring for nearly 100 children who might have been exposed to asbestos while attending programs at the Wissinoming PAL center. (phillynews.com)
This one may get ugly…it’s the personal saga of yours truly as I embark on the process of hiring the right personal injury attorney—for real! The attorneys I’m reaching out to do not know I work for a legal news website. So I’ve got no special “in” here and will live this process just as everyone who clicks that “submit claim” button does. Only, to be fair, I’m not submitting a claim here, where I work. Ready to come along for the ride?
It happens. One day, you say the words, “Maybe I should talk to a lawyer.” There’s an uneasiness in your stomach as the words flow from your lips. But you’ve reached that point where, for whatever reason, you need—and are ready to pursue—legal help.
You might think your next step would sort of be like what you’d do if, instead, you had said something like, “Guess I need to get the car checked.” No. That would be too easy: Pick up the phone. Schedule a time to bring the car in. Done. A pain in the a$$, but easy.
No. When you need to find a good lawyer, you start to feel more the way Rose might in a Dr. Who episode—you know, the parts when she’s all like “But why Doc-tuh?…Doc-tuh?…Doc-TUH?!?” And there’s Rose standing helpless and clueless in the middle of some street while “Doctuh” has disappeared.
And I’m not talking about trying to find your run-of-the-mill divorce lawyer or the lawyer who writes up your will. No disrespect to those folks—but their work, while important and at times quite messy, is pretty straightforward. You know the end goal and pretty much how to get to it. And, chances are, you can get a few good referrals right from your circle of friends. No, I’m talking about needing a personal injury attorney. Things start to get murky when you’re in the land of “harm”, “damages”, “wrongdoing”, and the ever-popular “pain and suffering”.
So here I am, muttering that “get a lawyer” phrase and…I’m stymied. Yep. Don’t know where the hell to start. And here’s the part I want y’all to remember: I WORK IN THE LEGAL INDUSTRY. So for those of you who do not, and who are either on this journey or have been on it, please know I have no special “in” that I’m using and yes, I really am feeling your pain. Really.
Now, before you even get to picking up your mobile to dial 1-800/888/877/866-INJURY-NOW or whatever cute & catchy vanity phone number you saw as you blew by that billboard on Route You-Name-It, you hesitate. You don’t even know if you SHOULD call an attorney, right?
Maybe you’re overreacting. Being a bit prickly. A wuss. After all, people (the media?) always tend to show potential plaintiffs in the worst light: we’re all opportunists (hot coffee lawsuit anyone?). Or, we just don’t suck it up. So there’s that stigma to reconcile with yourself at the outset. And let’s face it, most people really don’t want to be litigious. It’s too…confrontational.
Then, there’s all that imagery of advanced learning—framed certificates of this or that, suits & ties, mahogany everywhere and built-in bookcases with series upon series of books that all have that same monotonous red & gold leaf binding. Who are these people? And who the hell wears a suit all the time anymore?
It’s off-putting. You feel self-conscious, insignificant, daunted and on the defensive before you’ve even opened your mouth or shaken any hands. Why is it that those legal help billboards scream “Come On In!” and yet for some reason you still don’t feel that welcome feeling? As someone whose background is in marketing—yea, I drank the “consumer’s always right!” kool-aid and am a strong believer in transparency—if I had the option to shop elsewhere for legal help—for example, maybe my mother-in-law who’s been known to put up a good fight (and has no problem stating her mind) would like to represent me. I’d get her on contingency. But there’s that lousy requirement about being admitted to the bar. Excuse me, The Bar.
So here we go. I’ve weighed the pro’s and con’s—as much as I know of what those could possibly be—and I’ve decided to go for it. I’m going to find an attorney! I’m going to right the wrong!
Not so fast.
You thought you’d walk into the lawyer store and pick one off the shelf, eh? Thought they’d have your fit, size and color right there for the taking? Silly you. Well, actually, not silly you–after all, that’s sort of how you find a doctor, right? You figure out what part of you ails and you get a doctor who works on that part.
Ahh, but just try to let your fingers do the walking in the Yellow Pages (online edition, of course) for a lawyer, it’s not like they’re listed by the lawsuits they work on. Go ahead and see for yourself. Search for “lawyer” and you’ll be given some options to further filter your search. One of those options is “Personal Injury Attorney”. Think you’ve found your match? Think again!
No—the lawyer who argues the case about Yaz birth control is NOT the same guy (or gal, we don’t discriminate here) who argues your wrongful termination case and is NOT the same guy/gal who even might argue your egress/regress employment issue! And see—I’ve already started with the jargon—WTF is egress/regress?!? (Yes, I know what it is…I’m making a point.)
That will be your first surprise. Which you won’t necessarily know unless you actually MAKE CONTACT with someone at the law firm you’re trying to connect with, and they tell you in so many words that you’ve got the wrong address (aka, the proverbial “I don’t really handle those cases” line that tells you you’re not welcome there, but does not quite tell you where you should be.)
Frustrated yet? And you’ve only just begun (nod to The Carpenters).
So, first, you need to know what your problem is. It’s not all that difficult, but no one REALLY explains that well up front. So, if it’s employment-related, you need an employment lawyer (in your state of employment, I might add). If it’s a medical device problem, you need a medical device attorney. Tracking with me? Good.
So that’s where I am in this process. I’ve figured out my problem, figured out the kind of attorney I’m looking for, and now I’ve started to reach out to them. IMPORTANT NOTE: The easiest/best thing for me to do would be to submit a claim form to request legal help right here on LawyersandSettlements.com (shameless plug)—after all, my claim would go to at least three good lawyers—shotgun style! I like that! But, again, that would be too easy and I don’t sh*t where I eat… So I’m out on the “open market”, so to speak.
I won’t name names throughout this process. But come along with me and we’ll share our pain. And we’ll ask the question (quite often I might add): Why is it so hard to find a lawyer? And maybe, just maybe, we’ll make it better somehow.
Target targeted, by a computer virus and now a class action lawsuit. In case you hadn’t heard—the US’s second largest retailer got hit with a massive data breach just before Christmas—which latest reports indicate could affect as many as 70 million customer’s credit and debit cards.
Filed in California federal court by lead plaintiff Lisa Purcell (“Plaintiff”), the Target lawsuit seeks to represent all those similarly situated to obtain damages, restitution and injunctive relief for the Class. “The information Target lost, including Plaintiff’s identifying information and other financial information, is extremely valuable to thieves. As the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recognizes, once identity thieves have personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance,” the lawsuit states.
According to a statement issued by Target, the so-called track data was stolen in real time as payment cards were swiped in its stores between November 27, the day before Thanksgiving, and December 15.
The Target lawsuit states “Investigators believe the data was obtained via software installed on machines that customers use to swipe magnetic strips on their cards when paying for merchandise at Target stores.” And “The thieves may also have accessed PIN numbers for affected customers’ debit cards, allowing the thieves to withdraw money from those customers’ bank accounts. Thieves could not have accessed this information and installed the software on Target’s point-of-sale machines but for Target’s negligence, and that Target failed to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices appropriate to the nature and scope of the information compromised in the data breach.”
Among the allegations is the clam that Target was negligent in its failure to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices appropriate to the nature and scope of the information compromised in the data breach. Further, “Target unreasonably delayed informing anyone about the breach of security of Class Members’ confidential and personal information after Target knew the data breach had occurred,” the lawsuit states.
FYI—investigations into the breach are reportedly underway by the US Secret Service and two states’ attorneys general.
Carfax taking some Flak. An antitrust class action lawsuit has been filed against Carfax, alleging the company impairs competition through its exclusive and illegal alliances with Autotrader.com, and Cars.com, as well as with the majority of the automobile manufacturers’ certified pre-owned programs. The lawsuit further alleges that, as a result, automobile dealers are forced to conduct business with CARFAX at grossly inflated prices only to have CARFAX spend these inflated revenues on ads that disparage dealers as dishonest and untrustworthy.
The lawsuit, entitled Maxon Hyundai Mazda et-al. vs. Carfax, Inc, currently has approximately 500 dealer plaintiffs signed up, a number that is expected to increase as the suit progresses.
More from Madoff… Ok—here’s one for the record books—a settlement for the Class of BLMIS/Madoff customers has been reached affecting (“Class Action Settlement”) all potential claims against JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and its parents, subsidiaries and affiliates (“JPMorgan”). The proposed Class Action Settlement will be contemporaneously presented by motions for approval to both United States District Court Judge McMahon and to Bankruptcy Court Judge Lifland. The filed case number is 11-cv-7866 (VM) (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D.N.Y.).
The settlement of this Class Action is one part of a multi-part resolution of Madoff-related litigation against JPMorgan involving simultaneous, separately negotiated settlements, which include the Class Action Settlement in the amount of $218 million, the SIPA Trustee’s Avoidance Action settlement in the amount of $325 million, and a resolution with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York that includes a civil forfeiture in the amount of $1.7 billion.
The payments by JPMorgan in connection with these agreements will total $2.243 billion and will benefit victims of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
Ok Folks, That’s all for this week. Happy New Year! Here’s to a peaceful and prosperous 2014 for all.
Bet you can’t guess what the top legal news story on LawyersandSettlements.com was for 2013 (and no, none of them featured former NYC mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner…).
I’ll take that bet even further—I bet most attorneys, who you’d think would be in the know on these things, couldn’t even guess.
That’s because 2013 turned out to be a pretty interesting year in terms of the top legal news stories our journalists covered. While employment lawsuits—typically involving issues such as unpaid overtime and misclassification, on-the-job discrimination, workers’ comp, and wrongful termination—are always reader faves, in 2013 something strange happened: employment issues did not show up in our top ten news stories. At all.
Go figure, eh?
To be fair, when it came to content posted other than legal news articles (i.e., emerging issues, settlements, lawsuits filed), employment settlements drew the most readers. But it was health-related issues that drove readers’ interest when it came to articles and interviews. Here’s how the year’s top ten legal news stories played out (as measured by number of clicks the articles published in 2013 received):
And if you’re wondering what the number one legal news story was for 2012…here’s that one (and, you guessed it, it was about a wage and hour lawsuit, the ‘Lunch Break Lawsuit‘ (Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court))