Providing workers and residents with a safe environment is a duty that all property owners must take seriously. People should be able to expect that they will be given proper warnings if unsafe conditions exist and will be appropriately protected if there are hazardous conditions in place. This is certainly true when it comes to people work or live in a building that contains asbestos. In most cases, property owners or employers will make the responsible decision to have the toxic substance removed safety and by a certified abatement company.
However, many other people will choose to try and take a shortcut in disposing of asbestos, even though doing so puts workers and residents of danger of being exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos. The penalties for improper asbestos removal can be serious, but for the victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, fines and jail time may feel like insufficient punishment. In many cases, victims of toxic asbestos exposure can pursue financial compensation from a negligent property or business owner.
Recently, the owner of an asbestos removal company pleaded guilty to mail fraud and conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act after a decade of improper asbestos removal. According to reports, the man is responsible for exposing his employees and clients to asbestos with his unsafe practices. He reportedly stripped and bagged materials containing asbestos and then disposed of them in water. In order to make it look like he was in compliance with state and federal asbestos disposal laws, the man then gave his clients falsified air monitoring documents.
For more than 10 years, the man continued put many people in danger with his irresponsible practices. He was ordered to pay a little over $414,000 in restitution and was able to avoid jail time, despite his obvious negligence. Because it can take at least 10 years for asbestos-related diseases to show up, it is not known if any of the man’s employees or clients has suffered serious health complications because of his shoddy business practices. If they do develop mesothelioma, asbestosis or other illnesses, they may choose to pursue compensation from the business owner with the help of an attorney.
Source: Syracuse.com, “Clay company owner ordered to pay more than $400K in asbestos case,” Sara Patterson, Feb. 21, 2013
- Our law firm, based in North Carolina, supports victims who have been exposed to asbestos by a negligent property owner. For more information, please visit our webpage on premises liability.