Working at a gas station and working in the construction industry led to a man developing the mesothelioma that killed him in his late 60s, leaving behind a wife and an adult daughter. Weitz & Luxenberg was able to get him a large financial settlement so his family could be compensated in some measure for his loss.
The constant exposures to asbestos from the automotive parts he worked with at his father’s service station and the products that he worked with and around on construction jobsites in residential, commercial, and industrial settings were responsible for his illness and death.
For more than three decades, W&L has been winning verdicts and settlements for our clients who are victims of corporations that put money before people and their health. That total is now $17 billion.
High School Student Working at Family Gas Station
Our client was still in school when he began working nights and weekends at his father’s service station. After he graduated, he worked full time for another year until he changed careers.
While working at the station, he regularly changed clutches and removed and replaced brakes. All of these jobs involved exposure to asbestos dust from the old parts, and exposure to new dust as the replacement parts had to be sanded in order to fit. There was further exposure when he would sweep up after a job.
Our client used brakes from several different manufacturers. All of these brakes contained asbestos, a standard practice in the 1950s and 60s.
No Risk Warnings on Asbestos-Containing Materials
While these parts were all labeled as containing asbestos, none of them contained a warning about the dangers of asbestos exposure or instructions on how workers could protect themselves. Not only were workers exposed to the dust they created, but they were also exposed to the dust created by others working with asbestos in their presence.
The usual procedure was for a mechanic to use compressed air to blow out the dust. No safety equipment or masks were used to protect people.
According to Weitz & Luxenberg attorney Mary Grabish Gaffney, “Dangerous products being used with no warning and no protective equipment led to our client becoming seriously ill and ultimately dying. Manufacturers and distributors must provide a reasonable level of safety for the people who work with and around their products. At Weitz & Luxenberg, we are here to hold those companies responsible.”
Home Renovation and Repair Results in Asbestos Exposure
Outside of his professional work, our client also undertook major construction projects in the late 1960s and 1970s. These involved completely gutting and then renovating houses.
For these projects, not only was our client using products such as wallboard, floor tile, and caulk that contained asbestos, there were materials in the houses that also contained asbestos, such as insulation. Both the demolition and the construction exposed our client to that asbestos dust.
According to a report produced by the ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry), among the top occupations at risk for exposure are auto mechanics, carpenters, and people working demolition.(1)
Why Exposure to Asbestos Is Dangerous
Asbestos is a known carcinogen and can cause different forms of cancer. There are multiple different types of asbestos that occur naturally. These types of asbestos all have fibers that can be separated into threads and woven into products and materials.
Asbestos is resistant to heat so it is used for insulation and for products that are subject to friction, like brake pads and other automobile parts. Asbestos is also used in construction materials such as floor tiles, wall board, adhesives, and caulk.
If these products are subject to friction, like brake pads, or are cut or sanded, they produce dust. Once this dust is in the air, unless safety precautions are taken, the asbestos gets inhaled and the particles lodge in lungs and tissue surrounding the lungs and other organs.
These particles cause scarring and can lead to the development of different forms of cancer, including mesothelioma. It can take 10 years or several decades for this cancer to develop.(2)
Mesothelioma is a rare but serious form of cancer that is always linked to exposure to asbestos. The symptoms of mesothelioma are shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, and decreased lung function. There are ways to slow the progression of mesothelioma, but there is no known cure.
Weitz & Luxenberg Prepares a Strong Legal Case
The lawyers at Weitz & Luxenberg worked with our client to document how he had been exposed and what manufacturers were involved. Even though he was very ill at the time of the deposition, he was able to give good descriptions of the products he had used and the general conditions in which he worked.
Multiple manufacturers were identified, as well as two different retail chains that sold the products. Users of these products were not provided with warnings as to the health hazards or instructions on how to protect themselves.
Also identified were several different employers who did not provide proper training or protective equipment for their employees.
Leonard F. Feldman, the attorney in charge of the Weitz & Luxenberg asbestos practice settlements in Pennsylvania, explains, “We were able to reach a total significant financial settlement with the dozen companies for the damage that had been done to our client. When companies cause you harm, you deserve to be compensated.” The size of these settlements varied significantly.
The law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg is dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients and making sure that companies who endanger the people who use their products or work for them are held accountable. W&L is ready to represent you.