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Posts by: Steven Kazan

Kazan Law Is Proud to Support the 2018 International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMig)

We are pleased to announce that once again this year, Kazan Law is a major financial supporter of the worldwide conference held by the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMig) an international group of scientists, doctors, researchers, and academic experts who devote their lives to trying to understand, cure, and prevent mesothelioma.  iMig was started in 1991, and since that time has had regular meetings, the 14th of which will be held this May in Ottawa, Canada, featuring participation of over 500 delegates from all over the world. We continue our unbroken string of providing major financial support since the meetings in Chicago (2006), Amsterdam (2008), Kyoto, Japan (2010), Boston (2012), Capetown, South Africa (2014), and Birmingham, England (2016).

In addition to our major general support and sponsorship of the particular conference activities, we are especially proud that in 2006 we suggested and offered to fund the establishment of the Young Investigator Award Program, recognizing academic work from five of the most promising young researchers presented at each conference.  The awards were first given in 2008, and have become a tradition at every conference since that time.  This year, five young scientists will receive these awards.  In recent years we have posted short videos prepared by the winners on the Kazan Law YouTube Channel so that everyone can learn about their work, presented in language directed to all of us non-scientists.  We hope to add videos from this year’s winners soon.

For the fifth consecutive conference, we have had academic papers accepted after undergoing the rigorous scientific peer review process, with abstracts published in the proceedings of the conference or related medical journals.  We are the only American law firm so honored; our work focuses on issues at the intersection of law and medicine, which we think would be of interest to iMig scientists. On several occasions we have been asked to present talks at conference sessions, including a keynote address during the Kyoto Conference.  Again, this year, I will be presenting a poster session, based on our accepted abstract, at two open sessions during the conference.  For a short video discussing our posters, please check our YouTube Channel.

The iMig conference is a great opportunity for me to visit with medical and scientific friends from around the world with whom I have been working for many years.  The panel discussions and academic presentations are always interesting, and the conference is always great fun.  I hope to be posting regular updates on interesting developments to our Facebook and Twitter feeds, so drop by and take a look.

Understanding Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by past exposure to asbestos. Many individuals and their surviving family members have filed suit, but others may lose the opportunity to receive compensation because of the mesothelioma statute of limitations.

States place differing limits on how long a claim for compensation may be filed. The limitations may vary depending on whether it is the patient or the surviving family members who file.
 

Personal Injury Statute of Limitations:

The personal injury statute of limitations varies from one year in California for someone still working to six years in Maine and North Dakota to never in California for someone already retired. That’s the amount of time from the diagnosis that the cancer patient has to file a claim. Meeting the relevant deadlines is easier with the help of a mesothelioma attorney. Preparing a lawsuit and filing can take a few months, and you can lose important legal rights if your filing is not timely enough in both personal injury and wrongful death cases.
 

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations:

Wrongful death suits typically must be filed within two years of the individual’s death. Other states put the limit at three years, or one year in a couple of states. In New York and Florida the statute of limitations is much shorter for wrongful death than for personal injury, for example.

However, it can be difficult to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Family members might not know the individual got cancer from asbestos exposure. If they know it was from asbestos exposure, they may not know where and when the exposure happened, or whose asbestos products were involved. It takes time to realize this information is necessary and then even longer to find it.

For either type of claim, the various state limitations are very important. The applicable state statute depends on three factors:

  • Current and past places of residence
  • Job sites where asbestos exposure occurred
  • Location of the responsible company

Collecting this information can be time-consuming though. This is a bigger problem for wrongful death suits, because of the much-shorter statute of limitations, and the death of the person with the most personal knowledge of the facts.

Some states have special provisions for mesothelioma cases. In some cases, there can be immediate trials for people suffering from mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer. In those states, individuals with terminal cancer may have their cases sped up. New York is one state with an “immediate trial” rule.

This slow-moving form of cancer has affected thousands of blue-collar workers who worked in shipyards, general construction, and manufacturing industries. Companies that made asbestos-containing products have been sued many times in many states, in part because they have disregarded the risks of working around asbestos.

If you have mesothelioma or had a family member die of this asbestos-related cancer, don’t let the mesothelioma statute of limitations pass. Check your state law to see how long you have to file your claim and contact a mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible. Our law firm has over 40 years of experience representing families who were affected by a loved one’s mesothelioma diagnosis.
 

$10 Million Verdict in Mesothelioma Case for Pipefitter

CertainTeed Corp. Misrepresented and Concealed the Health Risks of Handling and Working with its Product

Mr. Michael Burch was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in May of 2016 when he was 64 years old. A lifelong California resident, he and his wife Cindy raised four daughters and have four grandchildren.

Mr. Burch was exposed to asbestos in the 1970s when he worked as a pipefitter handling asbestos cement (AC) pipe manufactured by CertainTeed. His work involved cutting and beveling AC pipe using various hand tools and a 12-inch abrasive disc saw, which created extremely dusty working conditions. The dust contained the cancer-causing mineral asbestos. Day after day, he unknowingly breathed deadly asbestos dust at work and was never warned that the dust could cause him to contract the incurable disease mesothelioma.

A member of the Laborer’s Union Local 220 and the plumbers and pipefitters union Local 403, Mr. Burch performed underground utility work on water mains, sewer mains, laterals, and gas lines. He worked in mobile home parks in towns throughout California, including mobile home parks in Hayward, Sunnyvale, San Jose, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Cambria, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Paso Robles, Valencia, Carson, and Corcoran.

Mr. Burch’s symptoms started with pressure in his chest and shortness of breath. Soon the act of eating intensified his chest pain, and he began to lose weight. Doctors discovered excess fluid around his lungs, and following a biopsy, he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.

Kazan Law represented Mr. Burch and obtained a $10 million mesothelioma verdict in a personal injury case against CertainTeed Corporation. The jury found the Company knew the health risks of its product but failed to warn of those risks, and fraudulently misrepresented and intentionally concealed the health risks.

The jury heard evidence that CertainTeed was aware asbestos caused cancer as early as 1962, but did not begin warning about cancer hazards on its pipe until 1985. On the contrary, CertainTeed advertised that its pipe was a “nonharmful use of asbestos” despite its knowledge that this was false.

What Is An Asbestos Trust Fund?

In an effort to escape their massive legal liabilities, many large companies that used asbestos in their products or working environments have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In order to make sure that victims of asbestos-related diseases are compensated fairly, the U.S. Congress has determined that these companies must establish an asbestos trust fund when they file for bankruptcy protection. This ensures that future victims will be able to get the financial compensation they deserve.
 

History of Asbestos as a Material

Beginning in the 1800s, asbestos became widely used by a variety of manufacturers because it was cheap, flexible, and durable. It was also a material that provided insulation and was fireproof. Construction, shipbuilding, and manufacturing companies in particular began using the material in large quantities.
 

Asbestos Lawsuits

A hundred years ago, the industry knew asbestos was killing people. By 1940, they knew it caused cancer, and by 1960, companies were well aware of the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma. This affected a variety of companies, including those that produced products containing asbestos, or those who used asbestos in their operations. Since the link between lung disease and asbestos was clear, these companies began to be overwhelmed with lawsuits from the people they had exposed to asbestos. As a result, many of these companies felt they had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.
 

Establishment of Trust Funds

Many companies filing for bankruptcy hoped that they would be able to limit their asbestos liability. Thanks to section 524(g) of the bankruptcy code under Chapter 11,the legal system did not allow them to entirely escape their obligations to their victims. Companies were ordered to establish asbestos trust funds, which were to be run as separate organizations requiring new trustees, separate from the original company.
 

Determining Claim Eligibility

The most essential requirement necessary in order to file a claim to a trust fund is the ability to prove that the victim was exposed to a certain company or product that contained asbestos, and was diagnosed with an asbestos related disease as a result. Every trust fund is able to set its own eligibility criteria, and the best way to determine if you are eligible is to contact an experienced attorney who specializes in trust fund related claims.
 

Receiving Payment

If your claim is approved, the trust will make a payment offer to you and your attorney. This is typically a percentage of the full value that has been allotted to whichever lung disease that you might have. For example, when a trust was established, schedules were set for claimants with mesothelioma, different amounts established for those with asbestos lung cancer and other amounts for other asbestos diseases

If you or your loved one has been a victim of asbestos exposure, it’s important to seek the help of a trusted and experienced legal professional. You will most likely be dealing with companies who have years of experience in trying to pay as little possible to their victims. While the establishment of the trust funds does provide you some protection, having a skilled professional on your side can greatly increase your chance of receiving fair compensation.

What to Know About California Asbestos Regulations

Asbestos was used frequently from the beginning of the 20th century in a variety of building materials. In the 1970s, the public learned what the asbestos industry had known for 60 years – that asbestos is highly toxic and that inhaling its fibers can cause lung scarring, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Although asbestos is no longer used in building materials, many older structures still contain the substance. Asbestos is most commonly found in ceiling insulation, but it is also often found in other materials, including:

  • Dry wall joint patching compounds
  • Stove or pipe insulation
  • Floor tiles
  • Furnaces and duct work
  • Roofing materials

 

Testing

It’s usually impossible to detect asbestos fibers with a generic visual inspection. According to California asbestos regulations, only licensed professionals with specialized equipment are allowed to detect and report on asbestos presence. They will send their findings to a lab for further testing, where technicians will determine the type and concentration of asbestos, and thus confirm whether the building is dangerous.

If lab technicians determine that a home is dangerous due to the presence of asbestos, the homeowner has three options:

  1. Hire a professional to remove the asbestos.
  2. Use sealants to contain the fibers.
  3. Continue to live in the dangerous environment.

#1-Professional removal is the best choice for dangerous conditions.

#2-Sealants are next best, but are not always adequate to protect families and construction workers from asbestos exposure during renovation or demolition projects. Asbestos removal is recommended if a home or building is to be renovated or demolished.

#3-doing nothing is by far the worst choice!
 

Certification

California asbestos law requires employees and contractors working on asbestos projects greater than 100 square feet with an asbestos concentration above 0.1 percent to register with the Asbestos Contractors’ Registration Organization. Anyone handling asbestos must have certification. There are five types of certification:

  • Worker
  • Supervisor or contractor
  • Building inspector
  • Project designer
  • Management planner

Different certifications have different courses and requirements, but all must be completed in a state-certified training facility. Certifications must be renewed each year.
 

Abatement

California asbestos law has strict regulations for asbestos abatement. On an abatement site, all workers must wear respirators and multiple layers of protective clothing.

There are four classes of abatement operations, and the class determines the regulations and procedures. Class I involves the removal of asbestos in thermal system [furnaces and duct work] insulation. Class II involves asbestos abatement in floor tiles, roofing, wallboard, sheeting, and construction materials. With both classes, projects must be completed in an enclosed and regulated area. All materials containing asbestos must be soaked in water before removal to limit airborne asbestos fibers, which are dangerous carcinogens. All asbestos-containing materials must also be intact when removed unless deemed impossible by the contractor.

Class III operations involve repair or maintenance work. They follow the same California asbestos regulations as Classes I and II, but they don’t allow the dry cutting of asbestos-containing materials. No asbestos-containing materials can be dropped or thrown on the ground. Instead, they must be carefully lowered and stored with “danger” signs.

Class IV operations involve maintenance or custodial work where employees contact but don’t disturb the asbestos. Those making contact with the asbestos and those performing other work in the regulated area must wear respirators and protective clothing.

The state of California requires everyone who handles asbestos to receive thorough training and education. Anyone involved in asbestos abatement in California should know the regulations for all classes of operations.

Why File a California Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

california mesothelioma lawsuit Filing a California mesothelioma lawsuit just became an even more prudent step for you to take thanks to a new California State Supreme Court victory.  That State Supreme Court victory was won by Kazan Law partner Ted Pelletier, we are proud to say. Thanks to this important new court ruling, companies that exposed workers to asbestos can be held liable for other people living in a worker’s home who become sick as a result.

New California Mesothelioma Lawsuit Ruling Helps Families

California mesothelioma lawsuits can now be filed not only for a worker sickened by asbestos exposure but also by a family member who has become ill from secondary asbestos exposure. The family member may have been exposed to asbestos dust brought home on the clothing, hair or tools of someone who worked with asbestos-containing materials.

Kazan Law partner Ted Pelletier successfully argued that employers, all of whom were well aware of the health hazards of asbestos, had a duty to provide protective measures such as showers or locker facilities for changing clothes to prevent workers from binging asbestos home.

Although many years may elapse between the time of asbestos exposure and the onset of mesothelioma, asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos dust typically is inhaled through the nose or sometimes the mouth. When it is inhaled it can settle in the lungs and damage the cells of the tissue lining the lungs. This is pleural mesothelioma.  The sharp asbestos fibers can also injure the cells lining the abdominal area and cause peritoneal mesothelioma.  There are other kinds but these are the most common.

Whatever kind of mesothelioma it is, the progress of the disease is slow, irreversible and almost always fatal. The new California State Supreme Court ruling is a great step forward in justice for mesothelioma families. And we at Kazan Law are proud of the part we played. But there are other reasons why it is important to file a California mesothelioma lawsuit.

California’s Favorable Laws Can Help a California Mesothelioma Lawsuit

A California mesothelioma lawsuit can benefit from the high level of expertise that California mesothelioma attorneys have in this highly specialized area of law. Kazan law founding partner Steven Kazan is one of lawyers who helped found modern asbestos litigation in the 1970s. Over decades, lawyers like Steven Kazan have had a major impact on California laws on asbestos cases. They have helped to create a legal climate that tends to be more supportive of asbestos victims with fair laws and substantial jury verdicts.  The California legislature and courts have justified the creation and application of special asbestos rules as a reasonable response to the tragic devastation faced by victims of asbestos exposure.

Because of the support for social justice and sympathy for victims of asbestos exposure, many out-of-state asbestos plaintiffs opt to file a California mesothelioma lawsuit.

In addition, California’s laws are more favorable to mesothelioma plaintiffs than the laws of some other states. Some of the other states with large number of asbestos lawsuits have passed legislation to restrict access to the judicial system for people who have been injured by exposure to asbestos, or limit the damages they can recover or make suing more difficult.

California Mesothelioma Lawsuits Are Fast-Tracked

There’s another advantage for filing a California mesothelioma lawsuit. California is usually at the forefront of states in enacting laws that protect the rights of individuals, especially with respect to health and safety.  This can bode well for the sensitive timing of a mesothelioma lawsuit.

For example, since 2000, some states with a large number of asbestos lawsuits began enacting laws to limit new filings. But not California. As a result, some of the state’s courts have reportedly seen an increase in the number of asbestos lawsuits filed by both in-state and out-of-state claimants in recent years.

In response, California chose not to enact the kinds of laws that now obstruct asbestos lawsuits in other states. Instead our courts have enacted measures to manage large asbestos caseloads by trying to expedite claims by mesothelioma patients. This creates a fast-track approach to scheduling that allows the cases of terminally ill patients to go to trial in 120 days.

Who Can File a California Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

Among the restrictions placed on asbestos litigation by some states are laws that limit or exclude out-of-state residents from filing mesothelioma lawsuits. There are no such restrictions in California. Anyone can file a California mesothelioma lawsuit.

And that is an advantage because a well handled California mesothelioma lawsuit is likely to be more successful and deliver larger verdicts. Even if your California mesothelioma lawsuit settles before going to trial, your settlement may be larger in California. Companies know that a trial in a California court is likely to go against them. This can help motivate them to agree to a more generous settlement.

Also some of the best asbestos law firms in the country like Kazan Law are based in California. Your mesothelioma lawsuit can give you financial stability to comfort you during your illness and provide for your family once you are gone. Where you file – and what law firm you choose to represent you – can make the difference of millions of dollars in the settlement or jury verdict you receive. That is a key reason to file a California mesothelioma lawsuit.

A California Mesothelioma Lawsuit Will Not Require A Lot of Travel

Your location and the expense of travel should not stop you from filing a California mesothelioma lawsuit. When you work with a top asbestos law firm, your lawyer will travel to your location to meet with you. Kazan Law lawyers regularly meet with clients outside California, sometimes traveling across the country to work with clients who have mesothelioma. We understand that you will be better able to help give us the information we need to win your California mesothelioma lawsuit in the comfort of your own home.

So if you or a loved one has mesothelioma, contact us for a free evaluation to see if a California mesothelioma lawsuit is right for you.

 

 

 

Kazan Law’s Asbestos Litigation Landmark Decision

asbestos litigationA landmark asbestos litigation decision that offers justice to victims of secondary asbestos exposure was recently won by Kazan Law in the Supreme Court of California. The victory was won by Kazan Law partner Ted Pelletier. Thanks to this important new court ruling, companies that exposed workers to asbestos can be held liable for exposing people living in a worker’s home who become sick from asbestos the worker unknowingly brought into the home on clothes, hair, tools etc.

Kazan Law is pleased to announce that the state supreme court decision upholds an appeals court decision allowing a suit to proceed against Pneumo Abex, a manufacturer of asbestos brakes. The suit was brought by Johnny Kesner, who was exposed to asbestos dust brought home from the Abex plant by his uncle, a plant employee. But the state supreme court decision will have ramifications beyond this case.

We talked with Ted Pelletier about the state supreme court decision and what it means for asbestos litigation.

What is the significance of this asbestos litigation victory?

Ted Pelletier: This asbestos litigation decision by the Supreme Court of California removes what had been an unwarranted obstacle to genuinely injured people seeking justice in the court system.

This is about helping people who have contracted and are dying of asbestos-caused diseases. It has removed an obstacle for these people. That is really important to note. To hear people opposed to this litigation describe it, they are trying to convince everyone that we are creating new rights; that this is an expansion. In truth all this does is restore California law to what it has long been.

This state supreme court decision doesn’t mean that anyone is automatically liable for anything. It only means that people who were exposed to asbestos have a right to seek justice for their exposure.

Does this state supreme court decision mean this is now a law?

Technically it is an opinion of the Supreme Court of California about an existing state law. In our system the laws are written by the legislative branch. The job of the courts is to interpret the laws. So in this case of asbestos litigation, the California supreme court is interpreting what the legislature has already done.

Over 100 years ago, the legislature enacted a law requiring everyone to act with reasonable care toward one another. The reasonable care law is Civil Code 1714, enacted in 1872. What it means is that we all have to take care of each other and be careful.

If you aren’t careful, and act unreasonably and hurt someone or damage their property, you can be responsible for the damage.

The law says everybody needs to exercise reasonable care so as not to hurt others.

In some states this is part of the court-made “common law,” but in California our legislature intentionally made this law part of the Civil Code. Because our legislature has said this, the courts can’t just decide to change it. Absent some compelling reason, it is up to state legislature to change it.

How does asbestos litigation enter into it?

Ted Pelletier: The California Civil Code says that everyone is supposed to be careful and take care of each other, in the management of their “person” and “property.” So now you take that concept into the world of industry. Pneumo Abex Corporation was a company that made automobile brakes. Asbestos was used in brakes. For a long time, Pneumo Abex knew very well about the dangers involved, but it wasn’t warning people who used or worked with their products. Under the Civil Code, Pneumo Abex was not careful. It exposed people to material it knew was poison.

How did secondary asbestos exposure become part of asbestos litigation?

Ted Pelletier: Asbestos-related cancers like mesothelioma develop over ten to 30 years. People exposed to asbestos in the 1950s start getting sick in the 1980s. Around that time, we began to see a rise in illness in people who never worked at places like Pneumo Abex. We began to see it in the wives and kids of people who worked there.

A worker would come home in his dusty clothing and hug his wife and play with his kids. His wife would take his dusty clothing and shake it out and put it in the washing machine. That dust doesn’t go away. That is secondary asbestos exposure. And the sad reality is that you don’t have to be an industrial worker to get sick.

Why did this case go to the state supreme court level?

Ted Pelletier: The state supreme court gets involved when there is a conflict in the lower courts about how a law is interpreted. That is what happened here.

As cases of secondary asbestos exposure came up, companies argued, “We didn’t know we were exposing those people too.” Basically they knew they were poisoning people who worked for them but claimed they did not know they were poisoning more people back home. So they claim they were not acting without reasonable care in these cases.

The businesses say that they are willing to pay damages for their former workers but not for the other people they exposed off the worksite. The businesses say it is too much and it will put them out of business. Some courts around the country have been sympathetic to that, so some states do not allow secondary-exposure cases.

Several years ago, one California appeals court agreed with this position. It said that secondary asbestos exposure is an exception to the Civil Code, and companies can’t be liable to people exposed at home for not being reasonable. The appeals court in our case disagreed, raising a conflict.

Now, the California Supreme Court has ruled in our favor, upholding the Civil Code. The judges ruled that it doesn’t matter whether the exposure took place on the job or at home. These people who have been made ill by careless asbestos exposure deserve justice. And now they will be able to get it.

Do you anticipate a lot of other asbestos litigation cases now for secondary exposure?

Ted Pelletier: Honestly, no. One of the big arguments that the other side made is that this state supreme court decision is going to open up the “floodgates” of litigation and put them out of business. That was their asserted justification for keeping people out of the courts. People are dying of a horrible disease, but they are only worried about their business.

One of the things that the supreme court found compelling in our case was taking a look around the country at how other states have approached this in different ways. Some states are very pro-business, but other states have rejected the defense’s position. And what has happened in those states – Tennessee, New Jersey, Louisiana and Washington – in the last ten years since they allowed secondary-exposure cases to proceed? Nothing. There has been no increase in cases. Nor will there be any increase in California.

How prevalent is secondary asbestos exposure?

Ted Pelletier: For the past ten years, there have been about 2,500 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed annually in the United States. About 10 percent of those are in California. So that means approximately 250 mesothelioma diagnoses in California every year.

Of those 250 mesothelioma cases in California, about seven percent or eight percent involve a secondary or take-home component. Usually people who get mesothelioma worked in industry-related jobs. But a small percentage were exposed through asbestos unknowingly brought home by someone in their household who worked with asbestos. That’s about 20 people a year. It is awful and it is tragic but it is not going to bankrupt any major company or bring down the courts as business interests have implied.

As I said earlier, the state supreme court’s decision simply removes an obstacle to people who are undeniably sick and dying, and their families, to seek justice.

How did you and Kazan Law become involved in this asbestos litigation?

Ted Pelletier: This case was originally filed by another firm. The trial court dismissed the case. It was appealed and pending in the courts. They turned to Kazan Law for help and had me take over the case as lead counsel because I have the expertise needed at this level. I had worked for over 15 years in the appeals courts before joining Kazan Law. I argued the case in the appeals court, then did all the briefing and argument in the state supreme court with the support of my firm – with the support of the whole Kazan firm of course!

To put it simply, when it was time to tee up this big important statewide issue, they came to Kazan Law. We took over as lead counsel brought home this landmark decision. We are very honored to be able to help the victims of this terrible asbestos tragedy.

Congratulations!

Ted Pelletier: Thank you.

What You Need from a Mesothelioma Law Firm

mesothelioma law firm You didn’t choose to develop mesothelioma. That happened because, at some time in your life, one or more negligent corporations exposed you to toxic asbestos. That exposure probably happened many years ago and now it’s dropped like a hundred-pound weight onto your chest. With this unexpected and unwelcome development, you also have a very important job: finding the right mesothelioma law firm to handle your case.

Because mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, often times due to corporate negligence, the chances are good that you have grounds to file a lawsuit. The result of that lawsuit could millions of dollars in compensation for you and your family. A great mesothelioma law firm increases your chances of recovering a higher amount.

So much else in your life right now is not up to you. Doctor’s appointments and treatment decisions probably fill your days. At the same time, mesothelioma knocks the wind out of you.

But you do have a choice about your mesothelioma law firm and it’s an important one that can make a huge difference to your family’s financial future.

If you’re like most people, you have never hired a lawyer before and you don’t know much about lawsuits and trials, other than what you’ve seen on TV (and, as you probably know, what’s on television doesn’t have much to do with the real legal process). So here is a guide to help you understand what you need from your mesothelioma law firm. Do a little research, ask the right questions up front, and hire the best possible mesothelioma law firm to handle your case. Your mesothelioma lawsuit can make a big difference in how well you are able to provide for your family’s future.

Interview a Mesothelioma Law Firm Without Obligation

Maybe this goes without saying, but you don’t have to hire the first firm you speak to. In fact, if a mesothelioma law firm is pressuring you to sign up with them right away, that could be a red flag.

Some of the firms with the biggest internet presence aren’t really mesothelioma law firms at all. They act as case brokers rather than lawyers. They draw in people with mesothelioma – people like you – with big promises then hand off their cases to other firms in exchange for a commission finder’s fee. This bait and switch is not in your best interest.

Call several mesothelioma law firms and arrange to chat about your case. You don’t have to make any decision while you are on the phone. If you get a good feeling about a firm, go online and do some research. If they have a good reputation and a history of winning large verdicts and settlements in asbestos cases, that could be a good choice.

Read on for some of the questions you may want to ask your mesothelioma law firm during that first conversation.

Mesothelioma Law Firm Experience

Ask the representatives of the mesothelioma law firms you speak to about their personal experience with asbestos lawsuits, about the background of the firm and ask for the names of the lawyers. Then go online and make sure what they told you is correct.

Some firms handle a variety of personal injury cases, including mesothelioma lawsuits. Because asbestos law is very complex and specialized, it’s a good idea to choose a mesothelioma law firm that has a primary focus on asbestos litigation.

Kazan Law, as an example, was founded in 1974, before the first big wave of mesothelioma lawsuits was moving through the courts. Our founding partners have decades of experience in mesothelioma lawsuits and a history of winning high monetary compensation for our clients. All Kazan Law attorneys benefit from this collective wisdom. Our years of work in mesothelioma law have given us expertise and connections that benefit all our clients.

Find out how much asbestos experience your potential mesothelioma law firm brings to your case. Ask what kind of jury verdicts and settlements have they won for their clients. You deserve the firm with the best experience to handle your case.

Don’t Limit Your Mesothelioma Law Firm Search

You can file a mesothelioma lawsuit in a different state from where you live and you can hire a mesothelioma law firm from another state. You aren’t limited by where you lived at the time you were exposed to asbestos, either. This means you can choose from among the best mesothelioma law firms in the country.

In addition, your lawsuit doesn’t have to be filed in the state where you live. At Kazan Law, we have found that the California court system is most receptive to asbestos lawsuits and that is where we file most of our cases.

An out-of-state lawyer may sound expensive and exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A good mesothelioma law firm – like the one you will pick – will travel to meet with you at your home. Your life revolves around your health right now and a good lawyer will work his or her schedule around yours.

Mesothelioma Law Firm Compensation

A good mesothelioma law firm will take your case with no upfront costs to you. If they are able to get compensation for you, the firm will get paid a portion of the verdict or settlement. This is called a contingency fee. If they aren’t able to win your case for you, you don’t owe any money.

At this moment in your life, your healthcare needs may have put a strain on your family’s finances. Make sure the mesothelioma law firm you hire will relieve this burden, not add to it.

Mesothelioma Law Firm Investigation

One of the most important tasks in building a good case for you in court is the investigation. Your mesothelioma law firm will need to find out where and when you were exposed to asbestos. A good investigation is the foundation of a rock solid case. That solid foundation is more likely to lead to a big settlement for you.

This is why Kazan Law has seven full time investigators. These experienced staff members do nothing but track down the documents and facts that our lawyers need to build the best possible cases for our clients. Our investigators are specialists who continually add to our knowledge database.

Ask your mesothelioma law firm how they will conduct the investigation into your case. Make sure they will handle your lawsuit with the thoroughness it deserves.

Mesothelioma Law Firm Communications

One of the crucial things to look for when you are choosing a mesothelioma law firm is how easy it is to get someone knowledgeable on the phone. If the attorneys or staff are too busy to take the time to talk with you about your case, they may be too busy to give your case the attention it deserves.

Ask how the mesothelioma law firm will handle communications during your case. Let them know that it’s important to you that someone is available to answer your questions within a reasonable time frame.

This is the most important time in your life to be a good consumer. The mesothelioma law firm you pick can make a huge difference to you and your family. It’s a good time to ask the tough questions and make an informed choice.

 

Asbestos Removal in the Workplace

asbestos removalAsbestos removal is something we think takes place in old factories and crumbling dilapidated houses. We think of asbestos in the workplace as a concern only for people who work with their hands in places like shipyards, auto repair shops, heating and insulating companies.

But asbestos removal may be urgently needed in all kinds of workplaces – schools, hospitals, office buildings and even some of the most famous prestigious government buildings in the world.

Asbestos Removal Will Force Queen Out of Buckingham Palace

Reports recently revealed that asbestos removal is even going to drive the Queen of England out of Buckingham Palace while the work takes place.  Those who have been watching the popular TV series “The Crown” know how dutiful and dedicated to tradition Queen Elizabeth is.  So it would take something very serious and potentially deadly to compel her and her husband Prince Philip to move out of the palace where they’ve lived since 1953. And that something is asbestos which is both extremely serious and deadly. Royal officials report that Buckingham Palace needs approximately $230 million in reconstruction and upgrades.  The oldest parts of the palace date to 1703. Electricity was installed in 1949, a time when asbestos was still widely used as electrical insulation even in palaces.  It is no wonder that the planned renovations include significant asbestos removal.

Asbestos Removal Prompts Partial Closure of U.S. Capitol

Asbestos removal and fears of asbestos exposure in the workplace prompted the recent temporary closure of one of the most important workplaces in the world – the US Capitol building in Washington D.C. where Congress meets. The Capitol partly closed due to concerns about asbestos toxicity while the building was undergoing repairs. The partial closure included the chambers where the U.S. House of Representatives usually meets. Congress stayed away while asbestos removal experts in hazmat suits worked in the building.

The Capitol asbestos scare occurred as the historic building was in the process of undergoing a major overhaul. Along with multimillion-dollar renovations to the iconic Capitol Dome, the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), the office responsible for its management and maintenance, had asbestos removed from other parts of the building.

The need for asbestos removal from iconic places like Buckingham Palace and the U.S. Capitol highlights the danger that high levels of asbestos still presents in our homes, schools, public buildings – even palaces and the halls of Congress. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a lethal painful form of lung cancer. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

If even the Queen of England and the U.S. Congress aren’t  safe from asbestos, what does that mean for the rest of us?

Asbestos Removal Needed In Many U.S. Schools and Buildings

Asbestos removal seems like something that would have been taken care of ages ago. But sadly that is not the case. Asbestos still remains in the floors, ceilings, roofs and walls of many schools, hospitals and other buildings throughout the U.S.

In 1984, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated asbestos-containing materials existed in most of the nation’s approximately 107,000 primary and secondary schools and 733,000 public and commercial buildings. The EPA survey also found that approximately 34,800 schools were found to have areas with crumbling asbestos, potentially exposing an estimated 15 million students and 1.4 million school employees.

Not much has improved since 1984. A 2015 investigation by two U.S. Senators and reported in the Huffington Post found that:

  • More than two-thirds of state education agencies reported having schools that contain asbestos, most of which has been left in place.
  • School districts do not appear to be systematically monitoring, investigating or addressing asbestos hazards in schools, or keeping records.

Where Does Asbestos Lurk in Buildings?

A major factor complicating asbestos removal is that since the late 1800s, when large-scale asbestos mining first began in the U.S., asbestos was used in a vast amount of industrial products. It was used because it was cheap and resistant to damage from fire, electricity, and chemical interaction. So, despite the fact that knowledge of the damaging effects of asbestos on human health dates back to ancient times, it was widely used in building construction. Because it could help make a building fire-resistant, it was heavily incorporated into schools, hospitals, and industrial centers.

Asbestos can still be found in:

  • building and pipe insulation
  • wall and ceiling panels
  • floor tiles

Asbestos also lurks in a wide variety of other materials and tools which are omnipresent within the construction industry.

How is Asbestos Removal Done?

Asbestos removal requires meticulous skills, special equipment and permits for depositing the removed asbestos in special landfills. This is why it should only be done by licensed professionals.  Because of the time and equipment involved and the precautions needed, asbestos removal can be very costly. This is a major reason why asbestos removal has not occurred in many U.S. schools, hospitals and industrial buildings.

Typically, the part of the building targeted for asbestos removal has to be sealed off in order to prevent contamination reaching other areas.  Sealing can include the use of polyethylene film, and duct tape.  Negative air pressure machines which are fitted with HEPA filters may also be used to prevent asbestos fibers from getting out into the surrounding environment.

A special vacuum cleaner designed specifically for asbestos containment is the only kind that can be safely used when cleaning up during and after asbestos removal. Ordinary vacuum cleaners cannot be used, even those fitted with a HEPA filter because they might release the deadly asbestos dust into the air aren’t good enough.

A new method of asbestos removal was recently used at Northern California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. A track mounted wet cutting saw with a diamond blade was used to cut contaminated parts of a building into small sections. These were then double wrapped in plastic, the minimum requirement for transporting asbestos material, and driven to a landfill.

Asbestos removal is not the only type of asbestos abatement. Asbestos and asbestos-containing materials may also be enclosed to prevent asbestos exposure.

Many people exposed to asbestos in the past don’t remember where they may have been exposed, which product may have caused the exposure, or where the exposure occurred. If you or a family member has been given a mesothelioma diagnosis, you should consider consulting with an experienced law firm with the skilled staff needed to perform extensive investigations into your exposure. At Kazan Law, we have a robust team of investigators who dig deep into your past to find out where you were exposed and to what asbestos products. Our firm is one of the pioneers of asbestos litigation and we have helped hundreds of families secure compensation to help pay for the substantial cost of mesothelioma treatment and ongoing living expenses.

Asbestos Exposure in Your Home

asbestos exposureAsbestos exposure may be a problem you don’t even think about.  You assume asbestos exposure would never happen to you.  Especially if you don’t work in manufacturing, automotive, or shipbuilding – major industries where asbestos exposure is likely to happen. This is the 21st century and asbestos is longer widely used.

But here’s the reality check.  Home is where the heart is, as they say. But it may also be where the asbestos is – and in places you can’t even see.

Older Homes Ooze with Charm and Potential Asbestos Exposure

What’s not to like about older homes?  They often have elegant high ceilings, solid plaster walls, vintage hardwood floors and charming architectural details hard to come by in newer more bland construction. The downside is the potential for asbestos exposure. Most homes built before 1975 contain asbestos.

Although the manufacture of construction materials containing asbestos mostly has stopped, millions of single family homes and apartment buildings still may harbor substantial amounts of asbestos.

Insulation Is Classic Example of Hidden Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos was once prized for its ability to take the heat. It could withstand high temperatures without catching on fire. That made it a likely component to use in products where heat resistance is a factor. That included home insulation.  What makes insulation especially dangerous, especially blown-in insulation, is that it is more likely to be loose and release dust as it breaks down or is moved.

In August 2000, an assistant U.S. Surgeon General requested warnings to the public about insulation products containing asbestos. Testing had revealed that any handling of asbestos-based insulation by homeowners could trigger airborne asbestos exposure at greater than 150 times the asbestos exposure level that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration considered safe for workers.

The exact number and location of homes that may contain the asbestos-based insulation is uncertain. The company’s files and testimony put estimates at anywhere from 12 million to 35 million homes, offices and schools.

An EPA toxicologist reported that if people with this type of insulation did any repair work, like installing fans or light fixtures in their ceilings, could stir up enough asbestos dust to potentially cost them their lives.

That concern focuses on insulation. The bigger picture is that insulation is but one of many possible materials in a house that may contain asbestos.

The Risk of Even a Little Bit of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure can be lethal at any level. All health authorities agree that there is no such thing as a safe level of asbestos exposure. Asbestos remains relatively unproblematic if it is inert, covered and undisturbed. But like a previously calm volcano erupting, once asbestos is damaged and broken apart in a renovation or repair project, dangerous asbestos dust particles can be released.

You cannot smell or taste asbestos. The dust particles are tinier than snowflakes and invisible to the eye. But unlike snowflakes, they do not melt.  Microscopic asbestos particles when inhaled begin to scar and damage body tissue wherever they settle, typically the lungs. There are no symptoms anyone would notice at first. But over decades damage silently builds up. By the time a serious asbestos-related illness such as mesothelioma emerges, it is usually too late. There is no cure.

DIY Asbestos Exposure in the Home

Today in the United States, asbestos exposures can occur during repair, renovation, removal, or maintenance of asbestos that was installed years ago.  The home’s residents can also be exposed to asbestos while this work is underway and even after.

But do-it-yourself (DIY) home remodel projects have become a likely cause of risky asbestos exposure, mainly because many home owners don’t know what to look for.  A list of asbestos products used in the construction of homes before 1975 includes:

  • floor tiles and the adhesive used to put them down
  • linoleum
  • spackling, caulking and joint compound on drywall
  • plaster and cement
  • some roofing materials
  • insulation for walls, pipes and HVAC ducts
  • some forms of siding

Asbestos Is Still Legal in These Products

Beginning in the early 1970s, asbestos exposure concerns prompted many attempts to ban the use of asbestos in many products. This culminated in 1989, with the EPA banning most asbestos-containing products through the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). However, in 1991, this was overturned as a result of industry opposition.  Because of that, although everyone thinks asbestos has been banned, it still lurks in many products available to purchase by unsuspecting consumers.

Here are some listed by the EPA that a home owner or home remodeler might encounter:

  • Cement corrugated sheet
  • Cement flat sheet
  • Pipeline wrap
  • Roofing felt
  • Vinyl floor tile
  • Cement shingle
  • Millboard
  • Cement pipe
  • Gaskets
  • Non-roofing coatings
  • Roof coatings

Asbestos Do’s and Don’ts for the Homeowner

The EPA advises taking the following precautions to avoid asbestos exposure:

  • Do leave undamaged asbestos-containing materials alone.
  • Do avoid any areas where there’s damaged material that may contain asbestos. Keep the areas off limits to children.
  • Do take every precaution to avoid damaging asbestos-containing material.
  • Do have removal and major repair done by people trained and qualified in handling asbestos. Testing and minor repair also should be done by a qualified accredited asbestos professional.
  • Don’t dust, sweep, or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos.
  • Don’t saw, sand, scrape, or drill holes in asbestos-containing materials.
  • Don’t use abrasive pads or brushes on power strippers to strip wax from asbestos on flooring that may contain asbestos.
  • Don’t sand or try to level asbestos flooring or its backing. When asbestos flooring needs replacing install new floor covering over it, if possible.
  • Don’t track material that could contain asbestos through the house. If you think you may have, the area must be cleaned. Call an asbestos professional.

How to Prevent Asbestos Exposure At Home

Asbestos exposure is to be avoided for everyone’s health and safety. The best way to do that is to have your home or one you may buy or rent checked by a professional asbestos inspector.

An asbestos inspector will know where to look for possible asbestos, take samples for laboratory analysis, and suggest where and how any possible asbestos contamination should be repaired. Expect to spend about $400 to $800 for the inspection, lab fees, and report for a 1,500 square foot home.

Check with local health department and EPA offices for help finding an accredited asbestos professional to do this important work for you.

How Much Asbestos Removal Costs

Asbestos removal is a big hazardous job and it comes – no surprise – with a big price tag. But your life and the lives of your loved ones could be at stake. Clearing your home of asbestos by a professional asbestos abatement contractor could cost $2,000 to $10,000.  That should include using techniques to avoid dispersing dangerous asbestos particles during the removal process as well as the removal itself. It will also include the disposal of the asbestos removed from your home in an approved hazardous waste landfill in accordance with federal, state and local safety regulations.

Although asbestos removal is costly, so is the treatment of asbestos-caused disease.  It is better to prevent asbestos exposure before it happens.

 

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