Sheffield Renovation Illustrates Cancer Causing Asbestos Omnipresent
June 1, 2007, New York, NY— A tenants' group representing the interests of the residents of The Sheffield, a high rise apartment building on W. 57th Street in New York City, recently won a battle with the developers of the building with regard to the removal of asbestos-containing materials present in the building, but after several months of being exposed to dangerous asbestos dust.
The Sheffield, which was constructed in the 1970’s, had acoustic (known as “popcorn,” named for the rough texture of the coating) ceilings. Like most residential and commercial properties built or remodeled from the 1960’s through the 1980’s where the popcorn coating was used, the ceilings at the Sheffield property contained asbestos. James C. Long, Jr., an attorney in the Weitz & Luxenberg Asbestos Department, warned, “It is important that the public remain aware of the inherent dangers of exposure to asbestos to this very day. Asbestos surrounds us even today in our sprayed on ceilings, in the floor tiles under our feet, around our pipes, and in other products we use everyday.”
Mr. Long continued, “Many people remain under the misimpression that there is a 'safe' level of exposure, when our experts have shown again and again that the worst diseases—the cancers and especially mesothelioma—are commonly the result of extremely low levels of exposure. For example, in 2006, I represented two dentists who developed cancer over 20 years after they had in medical school worked on an exercise with dental tape containing asbestos. You cannot imagine the very real pain and suffering of these clients stemming from simply ripping a piece of tape 20 years ago.” While asbestos has not been used in the construction industry for many years, asbestos exposure is still a danger. Since the latency period for symptoms of pulmonary diseases such as Mesothelioma (a fatal form of lung cancer), other virulent forms of lung cancer and asbestosis is decades long, even short term exposure may result in contracting a lung disease related to asbestos 30-40 years after the exposure occurred.
Mr. Long is an attorney in Weitz & Luxenberg’s Asbestos Litigation Department. As a former prosecutor for Philadelphia County, he brings his seasoned experience to the representation of plaintiffs injured by exposure to asbestos. A frequent invitee at seminars and conferences focusing on asbestos litigation, Mr. Long will be speaking at an upcoming asbestos lawyers’ seminar.
Weitz & Luxenberg is known for its pre-eminent role in the prosecution of asbestos cases, including an historic consolidated trial in 1991 which involved men who worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Weitz & Luxenberg represented 36 clients in that case, and secured verdicts of $75 million. In 1996, Weitz & Luxenberg obtained a $64.65 million award for four asbestos plaintiffs and in 2002, the firm won a $53 million verdict for a brake mechanic suffering from mesothelioma.