Asbestos related lawsuits are on the rise, and there seems to be more coming. The evidence is piling up against a long list of companies and employers alleging they have known, for a long time, about the risks and possibilities of catastrophic, long-term effects from asbestos exposure. There are allegations companies and individuals attempted to hide, cover up, and even illegally dump the toxic substance. Asbestos was virtually outlawed for use, in most applications, by the United States Government in the 1980s. The lawsuits further claim these entities had an obligation to inform people about the potential for injury from asbestos exposure. It is convenient to conceal information regarding the risks associated with asbestos exposure because of the unusually long incubation period. It typically may take 20 to 50 years for symptoms and resulting diseases, such as mesothelioma, to appear after contact with asbestos.
During the week of September 8, 2008, in Jefferson County District Court, Texas resident, Harvey Williams filed a lawsuit naming 53 defendant corporations. In Madison County Circuit Court, Illinois, on September 10, 2008, Fern Anseth filed against 58 defendant corporations claiming mesothelioma caused her husband’s death. She further claims the mesothelioma was foreseeable and should have been anticipated by these companies based on their knowledge, of the risks of exposure to asbestos. This is one of several cases filed recently in Madison County Circuit Court.
Gordon Cornett, of Tennessee, was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and filed another action in Madison County. He filed an asbestos suit against 13 defendant corporations on August 27, 2008. The above cases are examples, of a long list, of asbestos related lawsuits being filed across the country.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection Division of Law Enforcement and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested three men on September 12, 2008, associated with the Winter Haven office of Florida Environmental Compliance Corporation, Inc., an asbestos abatement company. These men were charged with illegally dumping asbestos debris, in a wetlands area north of Auburndale, in unincorporated Polk County, Florida. The debris was from a demolition project of old dormitories at Florida Southern College.
The injuries, related to asbestos exposure, are just beginning to surface in our legal community nationwide. Considering the current information available, there are numerous volunteers from the 9/11 aftermath presenting with respiratory conditions which may be directly related to the exposure of asbestos materials utilized in the construction of the World Trade Center.
Asbestos exposure is claimed to be dropping across the country. How can this be when our country is undergoing nationwide city, school and corporate renewal projects?
With the recent arrests related to illegal asbestos dumping, and nationwide mesothelioma litigation, it is questionable whether asbestos related exposure is on the decline.
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Heather L. Ryan, R.N., C.L.N.C- Heather Ryan is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant with 15 years of experience in the health care industry. Her expertise in reviewing medical records and assisting lawyers with the determination as to whether legal action should be taken provides an invaluable asset to the newsroom. Medical-malpractice, products liability, personal injury and workers’ compensation are some of the recent areas of litigation Ms. Ryan has focused her efforts on. A member of the Florida Justice Association, Heather maintains a long list of certifications and credentials to support her areas of expertise and stays up-to-date with her clinical knowledge working as an emergency room/trauma nurse, at a Level 1, Adult/Pediatric trauma and teaching institution in South Florida.