Asbestos Violations Bring Record $1.2 Million Fine

Asbestos Violations Bring Record $1.2 Million Fine


05/19/2010 // Chicago, IL, USA // Cooney & Conway // Mesothelioma attorneys: Cooney & Conway

In a case marked by egregious, dangerous mishandling of asbestos during a building renovation, a Maryland judge has handed down the largest asbestos-related fine in the state’s history—$1.2 million—against a New York demolition company.

The contractor, Erie Vera LLC, had improperly removed asbestos from a Baltimore property, a six-story building that was being converted to apartments. An inspector with the Maryland Department of the Environment, acting on an anonymous tip in 2007, discovered some of the asbestos had been shoveled down a chute into an open Dumpster outside, and none of the 15 to 20 workers at the site had been wearing a respirator or protective clothing.

After a two-day trial concluding May 5 in Baltimore City Circuit Court, Judge Stephen J. Sfekas also fined the building’s owner—a limited liability corporation headed by Ali Farooq—$115,500.

Asbestos—long used in building materials, particularly insulation, before links to a host of deadly diseases became known—is most hazardous when exposed to the air. Individuals who inhale the fibers are at risk for lung cancer and other severe conditions, including asbestosis, a scarring of the lungs that causes shortness of breath and other serious health problems, and mesothelioma, an almost always fatal cancer of the protective lining covering many of the body’s organs.

In many cases, the diseases can take many decades to develop, and by the time they are diagnosed, the prognosis is grim. Over the years, mesothelioma lawyers have been successful in obtaining billions of dollars in relief for asbestos victims who were not adequately warned or protected by employers or manufacturers who knew of, but disregarded, asbestos risks.

In the Baltimore case, state officials ordered all work halted once the violations were uncovered. Ultimately, a licensed asbestos removal firm was brought in, and some 7,500 bags of asbestos material were safely disposed of.

Erie Vera was fired from the renovation project once the asbestos violations were discovered. No one from the company appeared in court for the trial.

This news story was brought to you by the mesothelioma attorneys at Cooney & Conway”>mesothelioma attorneys at Cooney & Conway. For over half a century, Cooney & Conway has been fighting to bring justice—and relief—to those injured due to the negligence and wrongful action of others. The firm has handled some of the largest asbestos cases in the country, helping victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancer and disease get answers—and compensation.

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