The legal process of pursuing compensation for asbestos-related illnesses can be complicated and overwhelming, especially considering the fact that people are already dealing with devastating health conditions.
Many North Carolina residents may have been exposed to asbestos in the early- to mid-1900s. Those who worked in factories, shipyards and other places where sheet metal was prominent often found out decades later that their exposure to asbestos led to mesothelioma, a deadly cancer. A union sheet metal worker who also served for several years as the union president died from asbestos exposure in June 2013, and his wife recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against more than two dozen companies.
A plumber in New England has been convicted of child endangerment after he exposed a teenage employee to asbestos during a construction project in 2008. According to prosecutors, the 43-year-old plumber violated numerous workplace safety and environmental regulations by ordering the teenager to dispose of two boilers that were insulated with asbestos. The teen worker was ordered to do so without appropriate steps to ensure his safety and protect him against asbestos exposure.
The families of two men were likely quite relieved with a recent verdict announced by a state Supreme Court jury recently. After four weeks of hearing testimony and deliberating for two days, the jury determined that the two men who had worked with asbestos-containing products would receive a total of $25 million for the past and future pain and suffering of the two men who had developed mesothelioma.
It has long been known that certain dustries put workers at a greater risk for developing an asbestos-related illness, from train manufacturers to construction to the U.S. military. These industries have a long and upsetting history of exposing workers to asbestos and failing to take adequate steps to protect the men and women working with the toxic material.
The continuing battle over documentary evidence in the Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC bankruptcy took another turn in North Carolina bankruptcy court. Several weeks ago, the bankruptcy judge ruled that a committee of plaintiffs' attorneys willfully hid evidence showing that many claims for asbestos victims had been inflated. Relying on this evidence, the judge reduced Garlock's obligation to the plaintiffs from $1.25 billion to $125 million. Now, the plaintiffs' lawyers are claiming that Garlock willfully suppressed evidence that officials long had knowledge of the carcinogenic effects of asbestos.
The family of a man who died in 2013 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma was likely quite relieved recently when a jury returned a verdict in the case they had filed against the maker of automotive brake pads and linings. The jury awarded a total of $10.9 million to the family, finding that Bendix, now Honeywell International Inc., should be held accountable for the man's illness and subsequent death.
Getting sick or injured on the job can be a very upsetting experience, especially when a person's condition is irreversible. A person can be prevented from working for weeks, years or even indefinitely, which can be traumatic for the victim and his or her family who depend on those wages. Without an income, people can find it nearly impossible to make ends meet, pay bills and secure medical treatment for the condition that prevents a person from working.
North Carolina legislators are considering passing a bill that could impact the manner in which asbestos-related lawsuits are tried. The aim of the bill is purportedly to provide more transparency when it comes to asbestos bankruptcy trusts in relation to products liability matters.