A former construction worker in California recently won $7.5 million against several companies responsible for his asbestos exposure. The construction worker helped install underground water and sewer lines under the Sacramento Valley, working with asbestos-containing pipes and cement and ultimately developing mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure lawyers at Pintas & Mullins detail this case and others just like it throughout the country.
The plaintiff in this case worked in construction during the 1970s and 80s, when the dangers of asbestos were known and proven. Although asbestos was entirely banned in the 1980s, the asbestos industry lobbied the government to overturn the ban, which it did in 1991. That case was the Corrosion Proof Fittings v. the Environmental Protection Agency. More on this issue can be found here, on the EPA's website.
Medical experts, government officials and industry executives have known about the fatal side effects of asbestos exposure since the 1930s, when the causal relationship between asbestos and caner was proven. Asbestos was originally considered a miracle product, since it was relatively inexpensive and had a wide range of applications, from fireproofing to insulating.
Asbestos was used in countless industries, exposing countless workers and their families. Perhaps the most disheartening fact of this devastation is that companies knew exactly how dangerous asbestos exposure was; they knew it was the only known cause of asbestosis, a chronic lung disorder, and mesothelioma, an extraordinarily fatal cancer. Asbestos is also a contributing factor to most lung cancers.
The plaintiff in California is a perfect example of an innocent employee now suffering from cancer caused by asbestos. The man worked with pipes made from concrete-asbestos materials, and his work would generate enormous amounts of asbestos dust. He often left work covered from head to toe with this dust.
When asbestos becomes airborne and breathed into the lungs, the fibers remain lodged in lung tissue for decades. Over many years, the asbestos fibers cause inflammation, scarring, and cellular changes consistent with tumor development. Although it takes a long time - often decades - for asbestos to develop into cancer, it takes only a few months for that cancer to spread to other organs and advance into its later, and most fatal stages.
Whether or not someone exposed to asbestos ultimately develops mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis is largely determined by genetics, lifestyle, duration and amount of exposure, and simple bad luck. You may have seen news headlines lately on this last point: that a large percentage of adult cancers are caused by random cell mutations. That is why some people work with asbestos for many years and never develop cancer, while others are exposed only briefly and are later diagnosed with mesothelioma.
The California plaintiff clearly knew exactly when, where and how he was exposed to asbestos, and sued the companies responsible for his exposure. Other mesothelioma and lung cancer patients have no idea when they were exposed to asbestos and are concerned that they have no legal ability to gain justice.
That is where our firm comes in. We have a wide network of legal professionals, medical experts, and investigators that enable us to accept clients throughout the country, and determine the when and how of where you were exposed. We know exactly what companies manufactured asbestos-containing products, and what types of industries had the most exposure.