Mesothelioma claims life of former Minn. state legislator Dennis Newinski
February 25, 2009 -- Former Minnesota state legislator Dennis Newinski, 64, died this month from asbestos-related mesothelioma. He battled the deadly disease valiantly for the last two years.
Before entering politics, Mr. Newinski worked as a machinist for more than 30 years, during which time he was most likely exposed to asbestos that would later lead to his development of mesothelioma.
Asbestos was commonly used in the automotive, manufacturing, and building industries during the early to mid-twentieth century. The dangerous nature of the substance was not recognized until the 1970’s, at which time Congress formed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and use of asbestos began to become regulated by the government.
As a blue-collar worker, Newinski had no political aspirations, but many felt he would be the perfect candidate and asked him, as a longtime union machinist, to run for office, said his wife of 43 years, Sharie.
Friends and colleagues remember Newinski as a man who had strong beliefs, a positive outlook on life and a vision about what was important. He also had an inspiring personality, and always demonstrated sincerity and common sense.
“He was a curious mix of humbleness and confidence, a normal working guy who was appealing to the people,” said his 1994 campaign manager and friend Gail Gisi. “When he talked to you, you were the most important thing in the world, and people thought, ‘This is the kind of person I want to represent me in Washington.’”
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos-containing materials. Such exposure is also known to cause lung cancer and asbestosis. In many cases, mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses will reach advanced stages of development before a patient is even diagnosed. Mesothelioma has no known cure and the majority of sufferers lose their battle with this aggressive form of cancer in less than two years following diagnosis.
Government sources estimate that in the next decade more than 35,000 people nationwide will be diagnosed with mesothelioma. This disease is most often the result of industrial workplace exposure to asbestos – and usually contracted through employers’ blatant disregard for the health and safety of their workers. That’s why people diagnosed with mesothelioma and their family members have strong cases in court.
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Weitz & Luxenberg has protected the legal rights of workers for 25 years – longer than most law firms in the nation. And in that time the firm's mesothelioma lawyers have won several billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients.
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