Mesothelioma attorneys never cease to be amazed at the greed and lack of
accountability displayed by certain businesses when it comes to asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma, a rare and fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure, can take years to reveal itself. Once it does, it usually kills within a few months to a year.
While asbestos has not been used in products since the 1970s, many products that are still in use today contain the organic fiber. When workers must come in contact with it through air particles, there is very specific protocol that must be followed to protect them from dangerous exposure – namely, specialized protective gear.
However, there have been countless examples where this has not been done, leading workers to fall ill decades after the initial encounter.
A recent case out of Tennessee is yet another example.
Six workers worked for a sub-contractor of the Department of Energy, which was in the process of cleaning up a uranium enrichment site back in 2000 and 2001. The workers were in charge of demolishing and disposing of condensers at the site. These were large pieces of electrical equipment, and the workers allege they were told that the condensers did not contain asbestos.
At the time, the workers requested that their employer outfit them with respirators. Their employers, reportedly, refused that request.
The workers allege they were subsequently exposed to the asbestos while they used chop saws to cut up the condensers.
If you’ve never seen a chop saw in action, it basically creates a very thick cloud of debris and dust. The workers contend that the material contained asbestos, and they were covered with the material. They were breathing in the cancer-causing material each day they went to work.
In addition to exposure from directly cutting up the material, the workers say they were also exposed to asbestos at the site when another contractor worked to burn insulation off condensers in order to salvage the copper that was inside. That insulation, the workers say, contained a significant amount of asbestos that then permeated the work site for an extended period of time.
The contractors (the employers) have not denied that the material contained asbestos. They have countered, however, that they didn’t know this. But these claims appear to fall flat in the face of other evidence.
Apparently, the Department of Energy has manuals pre-dating the contracting work that confirmed that the condensers did contain asbestos.
There has been no specific amount requested in the lawsuit, though the workers are seeking recompense for pain, suffering and the greatly increased chances that they will suffer mesothelioma or some other cancer or disease. Attorneys for the workers say that all six who have filed suit have had medical issues specifically related to their work at the DOE site, though those issues were not expanded upon.
The suit has been a long time coming. It was reportedly filed originally
back in 2003, where it was bounced back and forth between several federal
courts in Pennsylvania and Tennessee. It is now set to be heard in a Tennessee
The Ferraro Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services regarding asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. Call (888) 554-2030 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.