Dangers of Improper Asbestos AbatementAugust 12th, 2009
Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. is troubled by the recent rash of violations in New York State that were committed by unscrupulous asbestos abatement contractors and construction business owners that are responsible for the improper handling of asbestos despite the known health risks.
The firm has represented tens of thousands of men and women who were exposed to the dangerous carcinogen through construction, power station jobs, and many other occupations in decades past, only to develop mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer or asbestosis years later.
“It is shocking that contractors and others continue to bypass the very specific regulations pertaining to the handling of asbestos, putting their workers and the public at large at risk,” said Joseph Patrick Williams, a trial attorney in the Weitz & Luxenberg Asbestos Litigation Unit.
In July 2009 alone, the state launched several investigations, which included one into a contractor in the Rochester, NY area who is alleged to have improperly removed and disposed of asbestos-containing materials (ACM) taken from dozens of work sites, including homes, businesses, schools and healthcare facilities.
Another contractor, in Queens, who worked on abatement projects for over a decade, was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay over $1.5 million dollars in restitution for charges related to misrepresenting the size of his company. This was an offense he committed to reduce the costs of insurance to protect his asbestos removal workers.
This chilling behavior is being conducted even as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that over 200 New Yorkers succumb to an asbestos-related disease each year.
“The NIOSH statistics reflect that residents of seven counties—New York, Bronx, Queens, King, Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester Counties—have the largest numbers of asbestos disease patients in the state,” said Williams, who has won numerous verdicts and settlements for clients diagnosed with asbestos-related cancers.
Weitz & Luxenberg has been known since 1986 for its preeminent role in asbestos litigation, achieving a $16.25 million verdict last year in a case involving the first successful asbestos verdict against a dental supply company. In 2007, the firm secured a $37 million asbestos verdict in two lung cancer cases in a reverse bifurcated trial.
Successes reach as far back as 1991, when the firm won a historic consolidated trial for men who worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the 1940s and 1950s. Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. represented 36 clients in that case, securing verdicts of $75 million.
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