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October 2014 Archives

Appeals court: Punitive damages not excessive

Asbestos court cases can be very complicated; in many cases, this is because there is a large amount of money at stake. Product manufacturers and employers accused of negligent or reckless behaviors will go to great lengths to defend their actions -- or inaction -- because they understand that victims of asbestos-related illnesses can be in a position to be awarded significant damages.

Understanding asbestos trusts - part two

In our last post, it was explained how a 1994 amendment to the federal bankruptcy code has allowed companies facing large liabilities for illnesses caused by their asbestos-containing products to escape such liabilities by creating asbestos trusts. In this post, we will explain the process by which persons suffering from asbestos-caused illnesses can obtain compensation for their losses from an asbestos trust.

The risks of secondary asbestos exposure

For many years, people didn't understand that asbestos posed a serious threat to people's health. Even after the risks associated with asbestos were known, people dismissed them as minor. And for long after that, people wrongly assumed that unless a person was directly exposed to asbestos, there was no risk of developing an asbestos-related illness.

How should property owners address asbestos?

Property owners have a great deal of responsibility when it comes to making sure their property is safe. Premises liability is about much more than protecting residents and visitors from slipping and falling; owners must also be sure the structure itself is not a threat to anyone's health. 

Understanding asbestos trusts - part one

Almost thirty years ago, two companies, Johns Manville and UNR Industries, filed petitions in United States Bankruptcy Court to limit their exposure for damages caused by asbestos fibers in the products that they had manufactured. In the ensuing three decades, almost 100 companies that manufactured asbestos-containing products have sought the protection of the bankruptcy courts, at least in part to protect themselves from asbestos lawsuits. The lawsuits were brought by persons who claimed to be suffering from mesothelioma or asbestosis caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers.

Damages sought by family after man dies of asbestosis

The family of a man exposed to asbestos on the job has recently filed a lawsuit claiming that exposure to the toxic materials contributed to his devastating death. The man was reportedly employed by Gulf Oil/Chevron and worked with products that contained asbestos before he died.

Product liability: asbestos alarm causes school closings

The discovery of asbestos during the course of a school modernization project has forced the governing school board to close the schools, while the extent of the hazard is investigated. Like the schools in question, many school buildings in North Carolina were constructed in an era where the use of asbestos-containing products was common. Once again, the discovery of asbestos in a building that is used every day provides a powerful reminder that asbestos is still a significant health hazard.

The importance of time in an asbestos case

Time is an incredibly important factor when it comes to asbestos litigation. Because illnesses like mesothelioma are often diagnosed in late stages of the illness, victims of an asbestos-related disease often learn that their life expectancy could be measured in months or weeks, rather than years.

Must defendants be identified before bringing asbestos lawsuit?

Many people who have worked in North Carolina's shipyards, steel mills, paper mills and other heavy industries may have been exposed to airborne asbestos fibers on the job, but they have no idea which companies manufactured the asbestos-containing products that caused their exposure. Many of these people wonder if they can still sue to recover damages caused by this exposure. A recent case provides a textbook answer to this question.

What is strict product liability?

When a person gets sick as a result of exposure to asbestos, he or she can be entitled to compensation from the party responsible for the exposure. In some cases, this can be a property owner who failed to adequately warn people about asbestos in a building. Other times, the exposure was suffered when a person was at work and did not receive adequate protective gear or warnings from an employer about the risks associated with asbestos.


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