Asbestos Exposure Sparks Lawsuit at Famed Hotel Chelsea in NYC

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When it comes to asbestos exposure, not even fame or a storied reputation can shield a structure – or its tenants – from risk.

Our mesothelioma attorneys have learned that the Hotel Chelsea – that historic West 23rd Street haunt that once housed Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Sid Vicious and Patti Smith – has become overidden with mold and has asbestos issues. As of this writing, some 36 residents have joined the lawsuit against landlord Joseph Chetrit, demanding that he make the necessary repairs to make the building safe for occupancy. The site has been closed to visitors since renovations began.

They say that a renovation project that is underway has made their risk of asbestos exposure even more likely, and they are fighting back in court.

According to multiple news agencies, the tenants had been trying to negotiate some kind of agreement with the landlord regarding the repairs, but those talks fell flat in April.

Unlike a mere leaky pipe or a broken air conditioning unit – which may certainly be an inconvenience – exposure to asbestos is potentially life-threatening.

Asbestos is a mineral that looks like long, thin fibers. When the fibers are disturbed, they become airborne. When they are in the air, they are likely to be breathed in by humans. Exposure to asbestos is well known to cause a myriad of deadly lung diseases and other cancers, including mesothelioma. However, what’s particularly vexing is that evidence of those diseases may not appear for years – if not decades. By the time it’s discovered, the patient often doesn’t have much time left to live.

Landlords who are aware of asbestos in their buildings have a responsibility to mitigate or eliminate the risks to their tenants. Of course, compelling them to do the right thing isn’t always easy, as these tenants have discovered. That’s why hiring an experienced asbestos attorney is so critical. Particularly in these tough economic times, many people can’t afford to just pick up and move. For some people, even if they don’t own the property, it’s home and leaving just doesn’t feel like an option.

With regard to the 12-story Chelsea, the building was purchased by Chetrit in 2011 for $80 million. Attorneys for the tenants say the landlord is stalling the process in an effort to push long-term tenants to leave the property, which consists of 160 rooms, about half of which were occupied by individuals who had lived at the iconic hotel a long time when Chetrit bought it.

One of the tenants, a 62-year-old artist, showed reporters the mold that has started to spider-web on the walls of her eighth-story apartment. She is concerned, too, about what the exposure to asbestos could mean for her health.

Joining the tenants’ cause is New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. She has chastised the landlord, who has been informed of hazardous material on site while his renovation efforts were ongoing. Yet the opposition contends that no action has been taken to remove the mold or curb the asbestos exposure risk.

Hotel Chelsea – that historic West 23rd Street haunt that once housed Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Sid Vicious and Patti Smith – has become overidden with mold and has asbestos issues. As of this writing, some 36 residents have joined the lawsuit against landlord Joseph Chetrit, demanding that he make the necessary repairs to make the building safe for occupancy. The site has been closed to visitors since renovations began.

They say that a renovation project that is underway has made their risk of asbestos exposure even more likely, and they are fighting back in court.

According to multiple news agencies, the tenants had been trying to negotiate some kind of agreement with the landlord regarding the repairs, but those talks fell flat in April.

Unlike a mere leaky pipe or a broken air conditioning unit – which may certainly be an inconvenience – exposure to asbestos is potentially life-threatening.

Asbestos is a mineral that looks like long, thin fibers. When the fibers are disturbed, they become airborne. When they are in the air, they are likely to be breathed in by humans. Exposure to asbestos is well known to cause a myriad of deadly lung diseases and other cancers, including mesothelioma. However, what’s particularly vexing is that evidence of those diseases may not appear for years – if not decades. By the time it’s discovered, the patient often doesn’t have much time left to live.

Landlords who are aware of asbestos in their buildings have a responsibility to mitigate or eliminate the risks to their tenants. Of course, compelling them to do the right thing isn’t always easy, as these tenants have discovered. That’s why hiring an experienced asbestos attorney is so critical. Particularly in these tough economic times, many people can’t afford to just pick up and move. For some people, even if they don’t own the property, it’s home and leaving just doesn’t feel like an option.

With regard to the 12-story Chelsea, the building was purchased by Chetrit in 2011 for $80 million. Attorneys for the tenants say the landlord is stalling the process in an effort to push long-term tenants to leave the property, which consists of 160 rooms, about half of which were occupied by individuals who had lived at the iconic hotel a long time when Chetrit bought it.

One of the tenants, a 62-year-old artist, showed reporters the mold that has started to spider-web on the walls of her eighth-story apartment. She is concerned, too, about what the exposure to asbestos could mean for her health.

Joining the tenants’ cause is New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. She has chastised the landlord, who has been informed of hazardous material on site while his renovation efforts were ongoing. Yet the opposition contends that no action has been taken to remove the mold or curb the asbestos exposure risk.

The Ferraro Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services, including asbestos exposure and mesothelioma lawsuits. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

More Blog Entries:
Pfizer Can Be Sued for Asbestos Exposure, Court Rules, April 19, 2012, Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog

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