After a lifetime as a union carpenter, working on commercial buildings in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania areas, our client and his wife retired to Florida to enjoy a life of golf together. This was destroyed when the carpenter received the devastating news that he had mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer.
One of our client’s major concerns was to make sure his wife and family were provided for after his death. That’s partly why he decide to sue the large companies that were responsible for his illness — the companies that exposed him to asbestos.
While he did live long enough to provide testimony in his legal case, unfortunately, our client died before a settlement was reached. However, Weitz & Luxenberg attorney Alex Eiden continued to work hard on his family’s case.
Mr. Eiden feels grateful that “After years of neglect by the people he worked for and the companies whose products he used, we were able to secure significant financial compensation for his loss and his family’s loss. That’s what Weitz & Luxenberg is all about — getting justice for our clients. This settlement will go to his wife and children.” And it was quite a substantial settlement.
Exposure on the Job
From the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s, our client worked on a variety of commercial construction projects as a member of Local 65. He worked for large companies, constructing shopping malls and office buildings.
His duties brought him into contact with various products made with asbestos. These products were not labeled as hazardous. The legal team at Weitz & Luxenberg was able to show that the manufacturers and suppliers knew of the health risks of exposure, and they took no steps to warn or protect people using them.
Failure to Protect
Even though manufacturers and employers knew of the risks from using products containing asbestos, most did nothing to warn the people using these products, or took any actions to protect their health. Laborers cutting and shaping sheetrock and tile were exposed to the dust made, as were the people who cleaned up or even worked in the same space.
According to Mr. Eiden, “People who worked on these job sites were repeatedly exposed to products made with asbestos, but they were not warned, and nothing was done to protect them. They were not warned by the manufacturers. They were not warned by their supervisors, and they were not warned by their employers.”
Because of the wide variety of products that were made with asbestos, carpenters are one of the professions at highest risk of developing mesothelioma. The dust from cutting sheetrock or from shaping tiles contains asbestos particles. Even handling the grout or adhesive to secure the tiles can put workers at risk. Once the asbestos fibers enter your body, they do not dissolve and there is no way to get them out.
Exposure Outside of Work
Besides the dangerous products our client handled at work, he was also at risk from home projects. In the 1960s he did a home renovation project, and in 1973 he built a new home for his family.
Many of the products he used in these projects had the same risks as the ones at work. And, again, there were no warnings from the manufacturers or the suppliers from whom he purchased the products.
Attorney Eiden stresses, “These companies were more interested in making a buck than protecting their customer. They feared that asbestos warnings on the packaging might make him buy something else.”
These companies ended up paying for their wrongful actions and contributed to the very large financial settlement our client’s family received.
Companies that manufacturer auto parts were also held responsible. As a teenager, our client worked with his brothers on car repairs, including brake replacements. Because asbestos could reduce overheating, most brake parts were made with asbestos. The dust from the worn parts was extremely dangerous and contributed to his exposure.
After the Mesothelioma Diagnosis
After he received his diagnosis, our client looked for a law firm that could provide guidance and representation. Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys have years of experience representing workers suffering from the effects of mesothelioma.
Not only have we recovered billions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for clients, but we are also able to provide direction when dealing with the effects of mesothelioma and how to get proper treatment.
Mesothelioma is a cancer that usually forms either in the linings of the lungs or the abdomen. If diagnosed early there are treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation that can help slow the progress of the disease, extending the patient’s life.
Exposure to asbestos is the only cause of mesothelioma. It can take years or decades after exposure for the symptoms to develop. But mesothelioma is always fatal.
Asbestos Is in Many Products
Asbestos is made of tiny fibers. When asbestos is cut, sanded, or shaped, these fibers become dust. When this dust is inhaled, the fibers can lodge in the lungs or other parts of your body. The fibers irritate the tissue and cells, causing mesothelioma.
Asbestos has been used in a wide variety of construction products, including sheetrock, tiling, adhesives, and caulk. The asbestos made the products stronger and more fire and heat resistant. It’s also found in gaskets, valve and pumps. As research developed showing how dangerous asbestos was, it was banned from most products.
However, many products that were made with asbestos are still present in existing buildings and homes. These were products used in both commercial and home renovation construction. Asbestos is often found in floor tiles, grout, and roofing materials.