After a recent report labeled the state of West Virginia as "fertile ground for asbestos litigation," tort reform advocates in that state and throughout the country are clamoring for change. The report, which was published by the Mesothelioma Center, stated that West Virginia is in the top 10 states for asbestos-related lawsuits despite being the 38th most populous state in the country.
Last month, an engineering firm agreed to settle an asbestos lawsuit, with the agreement marking the largest asbestos settlement thus far in the state of Missouri. However, as was pointed out by the plaintiff's attorney, no amount of money could ever make up for the loss of the plaintiff, who succumbed to mesothelioma during the course of the suit.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulators and W.R. Grace & Co. executives are reportedly scrambling to come up with a plan to stop further contamination of several Montana rivers after EPA tests showed that many of the waterways contain dangerous levels of asbestos. However, because much less is known about the dangers to people, animals and wildlife from asbestos that is ingested than from asbestos that is inhaled, it will likely be some time before a solution is found.
Earlier this week, we wrote about the increasing awareness of the risk of mesothelioma as a result of exposure to erionite, a mineral that is found in the soil of at least 12 states in the western U.S. Recently, officials with the federal National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommended that employers take a series of steps to protect their employees from the dangers of erionite exposure.
Last month, we wrote about a mineral that was recently proven to be much more carcinogenic to people who were exposed to it than asbestos and asbestos products. However, many people were, and still are unaware of the dangers of exposure to the mineral, causing an increase in mesothelioma diagnoses in the region in which it is prevalent.
Knowing what we now know about the dangers of asbestos exposure, it seems pretty unbelievable that asbestos were widely used in construction, plumbing, and several other industries within just the last 50 years, causing high instances of mesothelioma among former workers in these fields. Although researchers and medical professionals are hard at work to find a cure for mesothelioma, there is still much that remains to be discovered about the disease. This can lead to a significant amount of back-and-forth in court, as personal injury attorneys debate the merits of various scientific claims.
Mesothelioma is a serious cancer that attacks the ultra thin membrane that lines the chest and abdomen. Mesothelioma is caused by long term exposure to asbestos fibers that are breathed into the body. The most common type of the cancer is Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma or MPM which affects the lungs and often requires drastic surgical treatment or painful radiation or chemotherapy.
More than a dozen potential witnesses to an asbestos lawsuit may not be able to testify after the presiding judge ruled that a letter sent to those witnesses by the plaintiff's attorney was an "unfair and improper tactic." Now, the prejudicial effect of that letter on each witness will be established by the judge on a case-by-case basis, which will determine whether or not the witness can testify in court.
A former employee of the Illinois Central Railroad Company has filed a personal injury lawsuit against his former employee, alleging that he was repeatedly exposed to asbestos during his nearly 40-year career. However, unlike similar lawsuits that have been filed by railroad workers, the plaintiff is not claiming that his exposure to asbestos resulted in a mesothelioma diagnosis. Instead, the plaintiff is claiming that he lives in constant debilitating fear that he will be diagnosed with the disease, and is asking for damages based on that mental anguish.
As part of a long-term study on the effects of asbestos exposure on taconite miners and residents of cities near the mining range, researchers recently increased the number of mesothelioma deaths from 63 to 82. The increase is due to a check of the death records in other states, health officials say.