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Plaintiff's illness spurs acceleration of asbestos lawsuit

After being diagnosed with mesothelioma one year ago, a former plastics company employee filed a lawsuit against his former employer and a company that provided the raw asbestos with which he worked for more than 10 years. Under the laws of New York, where the lawsuit was filed, the severity of the man's mesothelioma entitled him to an expedited lawsuit. Earlier this week, the jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff, awarding him damages of approximately $2 million.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in December 2010. The 66-year-old worked in the compound department of Durez Plastics from 1966 until 1978, during which time he used raw asbestos fibers to make granulated plastic molding compounds. The asbestos was provided by Hedman Resources Ltd., a Canadian asbestos mining company which failed to warn Durez employees of the long-term risks of asbestos exposure.

Following a two-week trial, the jury found that Hedman Resources was 100 percent responsible for the plaintiff's injury and illness. The jury stated that Hedman conducted its business "with reckless disregard for the safety of others."

Peritoneal mesothelioma is one of the less common forms of the deadly disease. It affects the peritoneum, which is the area of the mesothelium that surrounds the abdominal cavity. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, swelling of the abdominal cavity, rapid weight loss, fatigue, anemia and intestinal obstruction, among others. Fewer than 500 new cases of peritoneal mesothelioma are diagnosed in the U.S. every year, and most diagnoses are made only after the disease has reached an advanced stage.

Source: Buffalo News, "Jury awards $2 million to Falls man in suit over asbestos exposure," Patrick Lakamp, Dec. 11, 2011

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