Section 524(g) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code was set up to protect the rights of victims of asbestos-related illness should the asbestos manufacturers who injured them go bankrupt. If asbestos claims didn’t survive bankruptcy, companies who produced dangerous products or negligently exposed their workers to lethal cancers could have shed those debt through periodic reorganization.
Asbestos-related diseases are not merely relics from the old days when the fiber was used in everything from coffee makers and hair dryers to pipe gaskets, floor leveling compounds and bonding agents. In many industries asbestos-containing materials are still in active use today.
A company that was in the process of demolishing and replacing an old hotel has just been slapped with a $25,000 fine for violating the federal Clean Air and Clean Water acts. It was also ordered to pay $6,855 in restitution to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for its expenses in monitoring the cleanup of construction materials containing asbestos that the company had dumped illegally. On top of the fine and restitution, the cleanup reportedly cost the company in excess of $50,000.