Weitz & Luxenberg was able to secure a large financial settlement for our client who lived and worked in New Jersey. During his lifetime, our client was repeatedly exposed to products containing asbestos.
He developed mesothelioma cancer from that exposure and died at the age of 74. Our attorneys secured the settlement collectively from more than 10 different manufacturers. At W&L, our attorneys have negotiated a total of $17 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients.
Asbestos Exposure at Work and Home to Blame
Working at auto garages for approximately 10 years, our client did mechanical work on brakes and clutches. He removed old parts and replaced them with new parts. Removing the old parts exposed him to the dust created by friction and wear. When fitting the new parts, he was required to sand the parts so they would fit. This also created dust, which he breathed in. Our client was not aware that the parts contained asbestos or that the dust was dangerous.
Our client used the same brand of replacement parts when he worked on his personal automobile and the cars of friends and family, getting the same type of asbestos exposure. These parts were purchased from a national auto parts supply company. Neither the manufacturer nor the supplier warned the client of the hazards of the products he was buying or how to protect himself.
The home repairs and maintenance our client performed over the years also brought him into contact with consumer products that contained asbestos. The work included cutting and laying down floor tile, caulking, and the use of joint compound. These projects happened over the course of many years as he did normal home repairs and maintenance.
He was exposed to asbestos dust from these products not only when he was cutting and sanding, but also when he would clean up after a project.
Additional Exposure Risks at Work from Materials and Safety Gear
When our client began working at a foundry, he was exposed to additional asbestos risks. Many of the products used in creating the metal castings contain asbestos. Even the safety gloves he was required to wear contained asbestos.
These gloves would fray through wear and release fibers and dust. Replacement of these gloves had to be OK’d by management as a cost control measure. The gloves had to show significant wear before that approval was granted. Ironically, the gloves meant to protect our client on the job created a risk to his health.
Health Risks from Exposure to Asbestos
A naturally occurring mineral, asbestos has been mined and milled for centuries. There are six different types of asbestos. The common factor is that these have fibers that can be separated into durable threads. Asbestos was used in building construction materials. Due to its fiber strength and heat resistance, asbestos is good for insulation and as a fire retardant.(1)
Asbestos appears in a wide variety of products used in building materials, home repair, and auto parts. These are used for both commercial and consumer jobs.
Wear to these products causes the fibers to be released into the air as dust. Breathing in these fibers is dangerous. Asbestos fibers may get trapped in the lungs. The fibers remain there and, over time, cause scarring and inflammation. This affects breathing and leads to serious health problems.(2)
These health problems include developing mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is a rare but serious type of cancer and is almost always caused by exposure to dust containing asbestos. Mesothelioma can develop years after exposure.(3)
“After learning that he had mesothelioma, our client contacted Weitz & Luxenberg. He knew that he needed an experienced law firm to represent him, and to protect his family,” says lead attorney Robert M. Silverman. “His major concern was to provide for his wife of 45 years, his two adult children, and his granddaughter.”
Settlements Reached with 10 Manufacturers and One Retail Chain
Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys reached settlements with 10 different manufacturers. These are companies that were responsible for the products that contained asbestos. Our client used these products at his jobs as an auto mechanic and later working at the foundry. They were also used in his personal life, auto repair, and home repair.
The companies that settled ranged from a maker of auto parts to the manufacturer of his safety gloves. “Although our client did not live to see these settlements, we have been able to fulfill his wishes—to hold the companies that were responsible for his condition accountable and to provide for his family after his death,” explains W&L attorney Leonard F. Feldman.