42 Years - A Professional Law Corporation - Helping Asbestos Victims Since 1974

Posts by: Steven Kazan

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.


Mesothelioma Payouts and State of Residency

mesothelioma payoutsMesothelioma payouts are among the most important aspects of mesothelioma lawsuits.  Receiving monetary compensation for the horrific harm done to someone by knowingly exposing them to asbestos is a way to attempt to balance the scales of justice.

Why Mesothelioma Payouts Vary Within the United States

But substantial mesothelioma payouts are not a foregone conclusion.  Many factors play a role in the outcome of a case, including the financial settlement. A key factor is the state in which the case is tried. Although we have a federal government in the United States, each of the 50 states maintains the right to do certain things their own way. The laws regarding mesothelioma cases and mesothelioma payouts are extremely complicated with major variations among the states.

Some states unfortunately have state legislatures that have been successfully lobbied by business interests to unfairly stack the deck against mesothelioma victims.  These states have placed extra hurdles in the way of mesothelioma victims receiving fair mesothelioma payouts.

In addition, juries are more likely to issue higher awards and settlements in major cities where the economies are strong and the cost of living is high. We have seen this firsthand in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Kazan Law is based.

How an Experienced Mesothelioma Attorney Can Help With State Differences

The good news is that an experienced mesothelioma attorney with expertise in how states differ in processing mesothelioma lawsuits can help achieve the highest possible mesothelioma payout.  The best mesothelioma lawyers are knowledgeable about mesothelioma laws in each state and are eligible to provide excellent legal representation to victims on a nationwide basis.

Kazan Law is a pioneering law firm in the area of asbestos law.  With over 40 years of experience in winning some of the highest mesothelioma payouts for victims, Kazan Law consistently receives the commendations for excellence from our colleagues and clients.

State Residency and Mesothelioma Settlement Amounts

Even though two mesothelioma victims both may have strong cases, the mesothelioma payouts each receives may vary greatly depending on the state in which their attorneys file their lawsuits. A mesothelioma victim may not realize this but they may have several options of where to file their lawsuit.

If, for example, your asbestos exposure occurred to you when you were in the U.S. Navy, you may file your lawsuit in the city where you were stationed.  If that was in the San Francisco Bay Area, we can file the case here even if you have never lived here.  Or if the company responsible for your asbestos exposure has a main office located in the San Francisco Bay Area, you could also file here. The value of your case would be much higher in California, due to the higher costs of living, than it may be where you live.

Here is information about how several key states differ on mesothelioma lawsuits.

New York has had the highest number of asbestos lawsuits in the country because asbestos manufacturing there dates back to the 1880s.  State laws here have focused on improving worker and workplace safety. Kazan Law’s founding partner Steven Kazan has been licensed to practice law in New York since 1967.

Pennsylvania, like New York, has a history of asbestos manufacturing dating back for many decades. It remains one of five states in the U.S. with the highest number of mesothelioma and asbestos-related lawsuits. Because they felt that these cases were clogging their court system, Pennsylvania legislators introduced new limiting procedures. Kazan Law partner Joe Satterley is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania.

Ohio has been another key state for asbestos lawsuits. But about 15 years ago, Ohio lawmakers added new restrictions for filing asbestos lawsuits.  Ohio now also provides assistance not to mesothelioma victims but to the companies facing asbestos lawsuits. This could present additional challenges for mesothelioma victims.

Texas passed many new laws within the last few decades and its courts have made unfavorable rulings to prevent mesothelioma victims from achieving the justice they deserve.

Florida passed the Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act in 2005. This law added to the evidence required regarding a victim’s asbestos exposure and subsequent illness.

What Affects The Total Amount of Mesothelioma Payouts?

Besides which state a mesothelioma lawsuit is filed in, other important factors can have an impact on the amount of a settlement. The following conditions typically help determine mesothelioma payouts:

Medical diagnosis and expenses: these are  important elements affecting a mesothelioma case and are directly linked to the specific diagnosis and follow-up costs of medical treatment. Kazan Law makes sure that all medical expenses are included in mesothelioma payouts for clients.

Other expenses and bills: Besides medical expenses, bills and living costs may build up once mesothelioma interferes with a patient’s ability to work. Overdue bills, accounts in collection and other expenses can overwhelm someone all ready suffering the ill health effects of mesothelioma. Being reimbursed for these types of bills and expenses is an important part of mesothelioma payouts. People who are victims of negligence should not have to pay expenses for an illness caused by someone else.

Lost wages due to illness: When mesothelioma stops someone from being able to work, they are entitled to be compensated for their lost wages. Missed years of work can often add up to a very significant amount of money.

Personal distress (physical and mental): Clearly, suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases wreaks utter havoc on the quality of life. Personal distress, both physical and mental, impacts mesothelioma payout amounts. Kazan Law fully understands the devastation caused by mesothelioma and strives to obtain the largest mesothelioma payouts for mesothelioma victims and their families and often can win extra damages to punish guilty businesses.

What to Expect from Mesothelioma Payouts

Many factors, including the state where a mesothelioma lawsuit is filed and other factors specific to each case determine the amounts of mesothelioma payouts. Kazan Law has a proud history of obtaining the absolute fullest mesothelioma payouts for clients, sometimes totaling into tens of millions of dollars. We understand the difference in state laws regarding mesothelioma cases and are licensed to practice in several states.

Even when you first talk with a Kazan Law attorney, you’ll get a better understanding of your case and the factors that are in your favor. The state where you currently live need not determine where your lawsuit is filed.

Our attorneys make every client a priority. Our asbestos law firm has extensive experience in the most appropriate state jurisdiction possible to obtain the highest amount of mesothelioma payouts.






3 Major Mesothelioma Lawsuit Payouts

Mesothelioma lawsuit payouts do not ever right the wrong that has been done to you and other mesothelioma victims. One cannot and should not place a dollar amount on the value of a human life thinking that the money is an adequate substitute. That is not only impossible to do, it is morally bankrupt.  However, mesothelioma lawsuit payouts do provide a means of achieving some justice for mesothelioma victims and their families, and usually is the best The Court system can do.

If you are contemplating filing a lawsuit as a mesothelioma victim, it is because you have received a medical diagnosis confirming that you have mesothelioma. That means an individual or a group of individuals knowingly chose to expose you to asbestos, the only known cause of mesothelioma. They knew of the possible lethal consequences of asbestos exposure but opted to gamble with your life because it was profitable for them to do so.  Mesothelioma lawsuit payouts are intended to make sure the perpetrators do not get away with it.

Mesothelioma lawsuit payouts can accomplish:

  • Penalizing those who knowingly harmed you
  • Paying your medical expenses
  • Providing your family with financial security and support in the future

Three Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuit Payouts

There are three types of mesothelioma lawsuit payouts. What type of payout you will receive may depend on the manner in which your lawsuit is able to move forward.

The three types of mesothelioma claims payouts are:

  1. Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts
  2. Settlements
  3. Verdicts

Basically, if some of the companies  whose asbestos hurt you have harmed so many people that they have had to face a large number of lawsuits filed against them by other people with mesothelioma, they may have declared bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy allows them to set up a bankruptcy trust from which everyone who they hurt can collect money. If some of the companies are still in business, and you know that the case you have against them is a solid one, they may opt to settle out of court with you. But if they are willing to take a chance that you do not have enough solid evidence for your case against them, they may want to fight the case in court. If our firm is handling your case, they would be taking a foolish chance because we do not take a case unless we believe we can win it. When the case is won in a trial, the mesothelioma lawsuit payout ends in a verdict, which becomes a judgement you can collect.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Payouts From Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts

As we said above, mesothelioma payouts from asbestos bankruptcy trusts occur primarily because the company responsible has caused so many cases of mesothelioma that they fund a trust to protect their assets and limit the amount of money each mesothelioma victim can receive.

Because mesothelioma symptoms may not emerge for decades following the exposure to asbestos, asbestos trusts must protect the interests of mesothelioma victims who come forward later. It assures that there will be a legally approved fund of money to compensate each mesothelioma victim whom the company has harmed.

At present in the United States, funds have been set aside in 50 different trusts to compensate current and future victims of asbestos-related illnesses.  These trust funds together contain approximately $32 billion available to asbestos victims.

Each mesothelioma lawsuit payout from a trust will be calculated based on the value of each case and  the amount of money in that trust divided by the number of current cases and the predicted number or future cases. The average total Trust payout for a shipyard or construction worker who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma is around $260,000. Surprisingly, the amount received can vary.  It takes a skilled attorney to ensure that a mesothelioma patient receives the largest amount possible within the parameters set by the trust.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Payouts from Settlements

Mesothelioma lawsuit payouts from settling a case out of court offers major advantages over taking a case to trial; speed and certainty, Mesothelioma can be a swift-moving merciless illness.  Accepting a settlement rather than going to trial can resolve matters more quickly.  It is true that a settlement amount may be lower than one awarded by a jury, but you will receive compensation sooner.  Trial verdicts often get appealed which even further prolongs the process.  Negotiating a settlement can help get your money faster to help with medical bills and make up for lost income.

A settlement agreement may be negotiated at any point before or even during trial, but they mostly occur after both sides have exchanged documents through the discovery process. Negotiations may take several weeks or several months. At Kazan Law, our goal is to achieve settlements that allow our clients and their families to maintain their quality of life and achieve goals that may have been set aside by asbestos-related illness. In determining a good settlement, we take into account the emotional and financial stress caused by a family member’s mesothelioma; especially when a wage earner has to stop working due to illness.

While every case is unique, Kazan Law has negotiated some of the highest asbestos-related settlement payments for our clients. We keep our clients’ settlement amounts confidential, but we can tell you that we negotiated large settlements for a pilot who was exposed to asbestos in an airplane hangar and an electrical worker exposed to asbestos on the job at a PG&E power plant.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Payouts: Verdicts

When a case proceeds to trial, Kazan Law works to schedule a trial as soon as possible for our clients. Unfortunately it can take months or sometimes years for your case to go before a jury. You will need to be at the trial if you are able to appear. You also may have to testify in court. If a jury agrees on a verdict in your favor, your mesothelioma lawsuit payout may not be immediate. Defendants often choose to appeal, drawing out the process. It is not uncommon, however, for parties to come to a settlement during or even after trial.

Trial outcomes are difficult to predict. Juries can decide in your favor but with an award lower than expected.  Or a judge may reduce the mesothelioma lawsuit payout set by the jury. But juries are likely to be supportive of a mesothelioma victim and the mesothelioma lawsuit payout from a verdict may be higher than could have been achieved through settling out of court. This payout may include punitive damages added by the jury.

Kazan Law has won substantial verdicts for clients from companies in jury trials. We won over $20 million for a woman whose mesothelioma was traced to asbestos in the flooring of her childhood home. We won a $20,500,000 mesothelioma lawsuit payout for a former employee of a plant that produced pipes lined with asbestos. Over the course of the four decades we have represented asbestos victims, Kazan Law has won verdicts and settlements which represent hundreds of millions of dollars to our clients. Learn more about how we can help you and your family receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free no obligation evaluation.




Could You Be a Victim of Asbestos Exposure?

asbestos exposureBy now, most people are aware that asbestos is a dangerous mineral that can cause serious health problems. What you may not know is that the risks from asbestos exposure are long-lived and stealthy. Plus, despite the fact that the dangers of asbestos exposure have been well understood for 100 years, there is still asbestos in our built environment. No matter what your profession or where you live, it makes sense to understand the dangers of asbestos exposure so you can better protect yourself and those you care about.

The Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos is a mineral. What makes this mineral so dangerous to humans is that it forms into long, fine fibers. These hair-like fibers contain millions of much smaller fibers, invisible to the naked eye. The microscopic mini-fibers are easily dislodged from the mineral and can become airborne. The airborne particles can be inhaled, which is why asbestos most commonly causes diseases of the lungs.

The human body has a genius method for cleaning and healing itself. Your immune system is constantly identifying and expelling alien or harmful substances from your body. Unfortunately, those microscopic asbestos fibers are thin and sharp. They can become stuck in tender lung tissue and dig in, resisting the body’s attempts to clean them out.

Over time, asbestos fibers lodged in your lungs and burrowed into surrounding tissue can cause irritation and inflammation. Eventually, often over the course of several decades, that irritation may develop into lung cancer or mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining around the lung.

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is caused by those tiny asbestos fibers. Not everyone who was exposed to asbestos will become sick because of asbestos exposure. The greater your exposure the greater the chances of developing mesothelioma. You could also develop asbestos-related lung cancer or another disease of asbestos exposure.  3,000 Americans who are exposed to asbestos – usually in a workplace – will develop mesothelioma each year.

While the good news is that the majority of people will not develop this dreaded disease, even one case is too much. There is no cure for mesothelioma and more than 90% of patients die within five years after diagnosis.

Who Is Most Likely to Have Asbestos Exposure?

Before you panic about asbestos exposure, remember that your chances of developing mesothelioma go up with greater exposure. There are certain professions and age groups who have elevated risks because they worked with asbestos before worker protections were in place.

If you worked in any of these settings before the 1970s, when growing awareness (and asbestos litigation) led some industries to stop using asbestos and others to develop some safety protocols to protect workers, your risk of developing mesothelioma or another disease caused by asbestos exposure is higher. While that era may seem too long ago to worry about, mesothelioma can take 50 years or more to develop after exposure, so those who worked with asbestos in the last century aren’t out of the woods yet.

The workers most likely to suffer from the effects of asbestos exposure include:

  • Workers in boiler rooms (where asbestos was used as a heat insulating material), particularly on Navy ships
  • Construction workers who installed or removed asbestos insulation and other products containing asbestos
  • Workers in asbestos mines or processing plants
  • Employees of corporations whose products contained asbestos (such as brake linings) and the workers at companies that used those asbestos-laden products
  • Military personnel, especially Vietnam veterans and those who served on naval vessels.

Unfortunately, there is still a great deal of asbestos in the built environment. While there are now protocols for safe asbestos removal, not all construction crews follow those guidelines. As a result, some workers still experience unsafe levels of asbestos exposure to this day.

Awareness of the danger of asbestos exposure is important. While you can’t do anything (yet) to change whether or not you will eventually develop mesothelioma, understanding the signs and symptoms and getting regular checkups can lead to an early diagnosis. The earlier you catch your asbestos related disease, the better your treatment options and the longer your survival time is likely to be.

Lurking Asbestos Exposure

Many people who develop mesothelioma have a clear understanding of where they got their asbestos exposure. They were  sailors in the Navy during the Korean War or spent years installing  Bendix brake linings as an auto mechanic. Sometimes, however, asbestos exposure comes from less obvious sources.

There have been many cases of mesothelioma among the wives of men who worked with asbestos. These women suffered asbestos exposure when they washed their husbands’ work clothes, which were covered in those tiny, invisible asbestos fibers. In fact, Kazan Law won a verdict of over $27 million for a woman whose asbestos exposure came from contact with her husband’s work clothing, who worked installing insulation.

There are cases where people who aren’t connected to professions most linked with asbestos exposure and mesothelioma have become ill because of asbestos. The deadly fibers can be found in ceiling tiles, drywall, and insulation, especially in older buildings. Asbestos can become liberated (and dangerous) during building renovations, DIY home improvements, or just daily wear and tear as the structure ages. There is still asbestos in the walls and ceilings and boiler rooms of some schools, apartment buildings, homes, and office buildings. There was even a case where a retired judge developed cancer because of exposure to asbestos in his New Jersey courthouse.

Awareness can help prevent asbestos exposure. Find out if insulation, ceiling tiles, or other materials in your home or workplace contain asbestos before undertaking renovations. If they do, use the services of a contactor trained to safely handle asbestos remediation. If you work in an environment where you may be exposed to toxic asbestos fibers, educate yourself about best practices for protecting your lungs and insist that your employer follow them.

States with the Most Asbestos Exposure

When it comes to asbestos exposure, all states in the US are not created equal. California has the highest rate of deaths due to mesothelioma and other diseases caused by asbestos exposure, at more than 4,000 per year. Florida is next, followed by New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

What all these states have in common is that they were home to sites where asbestos was mined or products using asbestos were manufactured or extensively used. Other hot spots around the United States include Libby, Montana, home of a large mine supplying vermiculite that was contaminated with asbestos. Detroit’s auto manufacturing industry was the source of exposure for many Michigan workers. Washington, though a small state, has a high per capita rate of mesothelioma because of asbestos exposure among shipyard workers. Former hubs of manufacturing and industry in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other Midwestern states have also seen elevated levels of illness related to asbestos exposure.

The bottom line is that, due to years of unfettered use of asbestos in the United States, it will be many more decades before we see our last case of mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. Until then, knowledge about the risks is your best protection.


Mesothelioma Law Firm Client Communication

mesothelioma law firmWhile you are dealing with the symptoms, care, and treatment of a serious illness like mesothelioma, you want to put your legal case into the hands of a mesothelioma law firm you can trust. One of the key qualities to look for in a mesothelioma law firm is good communication. A lawyer who doesn’t return your calls or respond to your emails in a timely fashion will cost you time and energy. You deserve someone who is ready to respond to you when you need answers, when you set out to select a mesothelioma law firm and throughout the handling of your case.

Mesothelioma Law Firm Contact

When you first reach out to a mesothelioma law firm to discuss your case, you will want easy access to a live human being who can answer your questions. Your energy may ebb and flow during treatment and it’s important for you to be able to talk to someone when you feel up to it, not when it’s convenient for someone else’s schedule.

At Kazan Law, our website features a live chat feature where you can ask any question you have about starting your mesothelioma lawsuit and get an answer right away from a real person. This information is freely given with no obligation to choose Kazan Law as your mesothelioma law firm. We want you to have the best information possible as you research lawyers.

The choice of who will represent you in your asbestos claim will be the most important financial decision you make in your life, given the amounts of money that many people with mesothelioma may receive in a settlement of their asbestos lawsuit or a jury verdict. A Kazan Law representative can help you understand the process of hiring a mesothelioma law firm and put you on the right path toward finding a lawyer who will be a good fit to represent you.

If you’re not comfortable with web chat or you prefer to talk your questions through on the phone, the Kazan Law website also offers access to our call center, where you can speak to a representative right away, 24 hours a day, even when the office is closed.

Through our office staff, by web chat or the call center, Kazan Law is available to answer questions you might have as you prepare to seek compensation for your asbestos-related injuries. Questions people often ask include:

  • How much will a lawyer cost? (Hint: a reputable mesothelioma law firm will not charge you anything up front; the firm’s fees will be paid from any settlement or verdict they obtain for you. If you don’t win your case, you owe nothing.)
  • What kinds of settlements have others in the same situation as me received?
  • How long does it take to receive payment?
  • What are the different ways I may be able to collect compensation for my mesothelioma?
  • Do I have to file a lawsuit in order to get compensated for my asbestos disease?
  • Is there a limit on how long ago I was exposed to asbestos?
  • Can I hire a mesothelioma law firm based in a different state from where I live? (Hint: the answer is yes.)
  • Can my family collect if I pass away before my lawsuit concludes?
  • How much work will I need to do to prepare for a lawsuit?
  • Will I have to give testimony?

Mesothelioma Law Firm Online Resources

Many of the questions above are also answered on the Kazan Law website. Kazan Law’s blog contains posts on these and other subjects. In addition, our website provides information on past verdicts and settlements and frequently asked questions. The Kazan Law website is easy to access and view from a computer or a mobile device, so you can connect to us from wherever you are.

As a mesothelioma law firm, we feel a responsibility to the mesothelioma community that goes beyond great legal representation. To help our clients and other mesothelioma patients stay up to date on the latest developments in mesothelioma care, we started Mesothelioma Circle. In addition to frequent blog posts, this site provides basic information for those new to mesothelioma and background facts about asbestos exposure.

At Kazan Law, we want to go above and beyond and provide resources that all people with mesothelioma can easily access. That’s why Mesothelioma Circle shares vital information not just on a webpage but also on Facebook and on Twitter, where you can connect with our international mesothelioma network at @mesocircle. These social media streams allow us to provide original resources and repost and share information from the mesothelioma community.

We believe that part of the job of a great mesothelioma law firm is to make connections. That’s why we feel our social media presence is so important. It’s a way of creating a community that makes us all stronger. That’s why Kazan Law has created @KazanLaw on Twitter, to keep in close contact with our clients and our allies in the mesothelioma community.

Staying in Touch with Your Mesothelioma Law Firm

Once you choose a mesothelioma law firm to represent you in your asbestos lawsuit, it’s important to keep the channels of communication open. A good asbestos attorney will do most of the work it takes to move your mesothelioma lawsuit forward, but your legal team will reach out to you to get key pieces of information, especially during the investigation of your claim.

At Kazan Law, we have seven investigators who work full time to uncover the facts of our clients’ cases and provide the evidence we need to win large settlements and jury verdicts. This means that you will get personal attention from an experienced researcher who can work with you to put together the strongest possible legal case.

You will also want to get regular updates on the progress of your case as it moves forward. Sometimes the wheels of justice move slowly and it can seem like nothing is happening. A good mesothelioma law firm will communicate with you on a regular basis to let you know what has happened so far and what the next steps are, even if you aren’t required to do anything toward those next steps (which is likely). Beyond the investigation stage, Kazan Law staff are available to answer questions from our clients as we work through the stages of each case.

You deserve personal attention from your mesothelioma law firm, from your first contact through the conclusion of your lawsuit. At Kazan Law, we strive to make ourselves available to people with mesothelioma in as many ways as possible because we know that being of service means making life easier for you.

Mesothelioma Cancer and Firefighters

mesothelioma cancerMesothelioma cancer strikes firefighters at double the rate of the rest of the population according to a startling new study.   Mesothelioma is a lethal form of cancer with only one known cause – inhaling asbestos dust.

Nearly 30,000 firefighters from the San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia fire departments were tracked for five years. The study started in 2010 and ended in 2015. The collected data was analyzed and the findings have been released.

Mesothelioma Cancer Becomes Focus of Top US Health Agencies

A clearer understanding of the risk of mesothelioma cancer for firefighters was the goal of the study.  To ensure that the study was as comprehensive and thorough as possible, it involved the collaboration of twp major US government health agencies.  Although the study was initiated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), researchers from the National Cancer Institute also participated.  Scientists from the University of California, Davis Department of Public Health Sciences also were involved.   The U.S. Fire Administration helped underwrite the costs of the study.

Increased Mesothelioma Cancer Risk and Other Key Findings

Besides the shocking rate of mesothelioma cancer at double that of the rest of the population, firefighters also faced higher risks of other types of cancer.  Here are the key findings from the firefighters study:

Firefighters Cancer Risks Compared to the US Population

Firefighters faced higher rates of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths than the rest of the US population

  • Mesothelioma cancer is joined by other types of respiratory cancers as well as urinary, digestive and oral cancers as affecting fire fighters more than the general population.
  • Mesothelioma cancer, considered rare in the general population, is double among firefighters compared to non-firefighters. Firefighters’ exposure to asbestos is the cause.
  • Younger firefighters are at a higher risk for certain cancers than older firefighters. These cancers include bladder and prostate at higher than expected rates in firefighters who are under 65 years of age.
  • The odds of dying of lung cancer increased with the amount of time a firefighter spent fighting fires
  • The odds of dying from leukemia increased with the number of fires a firefighter fought

Mesothelioma Cancer Prevention Steps For Firefighters

Mesothelioma cancer and other cancers can be tragic causes of premature death when faced b y the general population.  But for firefighters, whose jobs demand that they risk their lives for the sake of others, to double their risk of cancer as a result compounds the tragedy.

Without doubt, every effort needs to be made to protect firefighters from hazardous occupational exposure that can cause cancer.  The study states that fire services need to provide better training to firefighters on how to reduce their risk. It further suggests that firefighters should receive specific training on using protective clothing and respiratory devices at all times when they are at a fire site.

The study authors encourage firefighters to share the study findings with their doctor.  “It is important that your doctor is kept aware of possible job-related health concerns,” the conclusion states.

Why Firefighters Are Getting Cancer More Now

Mesothelioma cancer and other cancer deaths among fire fighters have risen steadily since the 1950s. Why? A recent article in the Atlantic Monthly says our possessions are to blame. The shift to using more synthetic materials in home furnishings and products creates toxic smoke when they burn.

“A century ago, we furnished our houses with wood, cloth, metal, and glass. Today, it’s plastics, foams, and coatings—all of which create a toxic soup of carcinogens when they burn. Fire experts say synthetic materials create hundreds of times more smoke than organic ones; flame retardants alone double the amount of smoke and increase toxic gasses 10-fold. Your TV, your kid’s Barbie, your Saran wrap, your couch: all of them can be poisonous when they’re ignited and their fumes are inhaled,” the article explains.

Tracking Mesothelioma Cancer and Other Cancers in Firefighters

Mesothelioma cancer rates and other cancers in firefighters were determined in the NIOSH study through careful statistical analysis.  The statistical analysis process involved four steps described by the researchers.

Step 1.  The researchers compiled their study population. They combed the records of the fire departments in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Chicago to come up with their list of 29,993 fire fighters who were on active duty until 2009.

Step 2.  The researchers obtained US cancer and death records through 2009. From this information, they were able to pinpoint when and how former firefighters had died and what the causes of death were.  They double-checked with each state’s cancer registry data to confirm which firefighters  were diagnosed with cancer.

The cancers associated with firefighters included cancers of the lung, including mesothelioma cancer,  stomach, esophagus, brain,  intestines, rectum,  kidney , bladder prostate, testes, leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Step 3.  The researchers next calculated each of the nearly 30,000 firefighter’s potential job exposures.  These measures included:

Exposed days: the number of days each firefighter worked in a job or at a location

Fire runs: the total number of fires each firefighter from the Chicago and Philadelphia Fire Departments went to

Fire hours: the total time spent at fires by each firefighter from the Chicago Fire Department

Step 4. To come up with rates of risk, the researchers compared illness rates of several groups. They compared cancer diagnoses and death rates among:

Firefighters Compared to U.S. and State Populations

Firefighters with more days of being exposed to fires compared to those with fewer

Firefighters from the Chicago and Philadelphia groups who went to more fires compared to those who went to fewer

Chicago firefighters who were at fires for longer periods of time compared to those who were there less

The fact that firefighters suffer double the cancer rate as the rest of the citizenry is another deadly reminder that exposure to toxic chemicals must be monitored and controlled. The toxic soup of chemicals firefighters are often exposed to when fighting a blaze can include the deadly mineral asbestos. Asbestos leads to mesothelioma cancer which kills its victims and has no known cure at this time.  Hopefully with studies like this more firefighters can and will protect their lives through safety  protocols, precautions including the right equipment and clothing, and continued rigorous training about the chemicals they face every time they answer a call of duty.





The Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation a Commitment to Justice

Kazan McClain Partners Foundation

At the Kazan Law Firm, our practice centers around helping our clients get just compensation for the harm that has been done to them and holding negligent corporations accountable. With the Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation, we take our commitment to justice even further. We created the foundation 25 years ago to support institutions that fight for the little guy, just like we do. I’m proud to say that, since 1994, the Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation has given out a total of more than $20 million in grant money. We’re excited to see the Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation grants making a difference in people’s lives. Here are a few of the community, health, and civic organizations that benefit from Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation funding.

Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation Funds Mesothelioma Research

As one of the pioneering law firms in the field of asbestos litigation, we have worked with a great many mesothelioma clients since we opened our practice in 1974. Because of the brutal nature of this cancer, we have also had to say goodbye to our clients with mesothelioma, some sooner, some later. We have sat with grieving families who have lost fathers and mothers, husbands and wives. We have seen firsthand the devastating effect of mesothelioma on the lives of our clients and our loved ones.

Because of these experiences, research into better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for mesothelioma is a top priority of the Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation. The Foundation has given almost one third ($6 million) of its donations to mesothelioma research.

The Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation has given grants to the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Thoracic Oncology Program. UCSF is one of the top medical schools in the United States. Their Thoracic Oncology Program specializes in treatment of cancers of the lungs, including mesothelioma. In the 20 or so years since its founding, the program has done ground breaking research. The program’s Thoracic Oncology Laboratory was awarded a National Institutes of Health R01 grant in 2005 to study mesothelioma. In addition to this important research, the thoracic oncology specialists at UCSF provide top-notch care to mesothelioma patients.

We also support the Thoracic Cancer Program at Stanford Healthcare. Through its connection with the Stanford University School of Medicine, mesothelioma patients get state of the art care from some of the best and brightest medical practitioners in the country. Mesothelioma care options include one of the most exciting new treatments for mesothelioma patients: immunotherapy. By analyzing the genetic code of a tumor, Stanford physicians can prescribe chemotherapy that attacks the mechanisms by which that particular cancer grows, increasing the chance of fighting back the tumor and extending life

We are proud to have had a role in funding these and other promising new breakthroughs in mesothelioma treatment, including innovative surgical procedures. The Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation will continue to fund mesothelioma research at outstanding institutions like the ones above and the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and Creighton University School of Medicine.

Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation Funds Fellowships

At Kazan Law, we know that the legal community that defends the rights of everyday people is only as robust as its next generation. Training young lawyers for careers representing the poorest and neediest among us and holding corporate wrongdoers to account is close to our hearts. That’s why the Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation provides grants to pay for fellowships and internships for law students and new lawyers at nonprofit legal organizations.

The Golden Gate University Innocence Project is an adjunct to the Northern California Innocence Project, based out of Santa Clara Law School. The project is part of a national movement to exonerate prisoners who were wrongly convicted using DNA and other evidence. Law clinic students get practical experience in criminal law through the project, which has brought much needed attention to the hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of people who languish in jail because of shoddy work by the criminal justice and legal systems.

The East Bay Community Law Center gives low-income communities of color free legal advice and education and also represents low income clients for no fee. EBCLC helps with everything from tax compliance to understanding loan documents to creating a nonprofit organization. This nonprofit legal center also provides a program for UC Berkeley Law School students that trains them in community legal activism.

The Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation has also supported Hastings Students for Immigrant Rights, which helps law students at Hastings build the foundations for a career representing immigrants. The group was named the Student Organization of the Year in 2016.

Our Foundation has also contributed to the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Public Justice, Impact Fund, and Bay Area Legal Aid, among others.

Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation Fund Youth

It all begins with our children. Healthy, strong, and empowered youth are the foundation of a just and sustainable society. The Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation has provided money for scholarships and stipends that create opportunities for youth from diverse backgrounds to explore careers in government in law.

The Youth Law Academy at Centro Legal de la Raza calls itself “a diversity pipeline.” The Academy is an after-school program that helps high school students in Oakland, California, prepare for college and for legal careers. The students are mentored by lawyers and judges, learn leadership skills, and get help with college applications, SAT prep, and financial aid.

The Center for Youth Development Through Law gives students from disadvantaged communities in the East Bay, San Francisco area, exposure to the law through programs at UC Berkeley Law School. During the intensive summer program, youth get paid internships while they take classes on campus. The program also sponsors a mock trial competition to develop self-confidence for local high school students.

The Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation also supports youth through The Annual Cruz Reynoso Social Justice & Judicial Externship Fellowship Dinner and the Oakland Technical High School Washington DC Program. We are excited to play a part in the education of the next generation of inspiring leaders, in the legal field and beyond.

The Future of the Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation

This is only part of the story of the Kazan McClain Partners’ Foundation. We have supported the San Francisco Chronicle Season of Giving holiday fundraising drive and given funding to the Employee Rights Advocacy Scholarship Program every year since it began almost ten years ago. We continue to find new ways to use foundation funding to support mesothelioma patients, budding lawyers, and the cause of justice for all citizens.

Asbestos Litigation and Veteran Rights

asbestos litigation Asbestos litigation when it comes to veteran rights can be even more complex and confusing than other types of asbestos litigation. That’s because of the additional layers of government regulations and agencies involved when it comes to veterans of our armed forces.  There are approximately 25 million U.S. veterans alive today from both wartime and peacetime duties in all branches of the service. Many were exposed to asbestos during their time in the service and are at risk of developing mesothelioma or another fatal asbestos disease.

While veterans represent 8% of the U.S. population, veterans account for 30% of all known mesothelioma deaths that have occurred in this country!

Ringler Radio Interviews Steven Kazan About Asbestos Litigation

To help clarify the issues surrounding asbestos litigation for veterans, a major leading legal talk radio network, Ringler Radio, presented by Ringler Associates, turned to Steven Kazan.

Steven Kazan, one of the key pioneers in asbestos litigation, is the founding, senior and managing principal of the firm Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood.  A noted international expert on asbestos issues, Steven has successfully represented thousands of asbestos victims. He frequently consults with both court appointed and elected officials and provides guidance to labor organizations on asbestos.

Steven was interviewed by Ringler Radio host Larry Cohen, a principal with Ringler Associates and Manny Valdez Sr., also with Ringler Associates and a Vietnam veteran.  Ringler Radio presents analysis of news, information and legislation on structured legal settlements through Legal Talk Network and as podcasts available on iTunes.

Expert Advice on Asbestos Litigation for Veterans

During the interview, Steven explained how veterans were often exposed to asbestos unknowingly during their service because the companies that made the products used by the military issued no warnings about the danger.

“It’s a real problem for veterans because they have had a lot of exposure,” Steven explained.  “The primary place where veterans were exposed was the U.S. Navy. It also affects the Army and Coast Guard as well as people who worked in the government shipyards.  So it is a very serious problem for anyone who has had military experience.”

When asked about specific cases, Steven highlighted the story of an enlisted soldier in the Army.  After serving 22 years helping to maintain army cars and trucks, he developed mesothelioma.  Kazan Law was able to push his case forward to trial and win financial justice for him.  Another case Mr. Kazan discussed on the air involved a Naval aviator who was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and became the commander of the entire Pacific carrier fleet. He retired as a Rear Admiral but was soon diagnosed with mesothelioma. Kazan Law also obtained compensation for him and his family.

“In the Navy you’re living on ship 24/7 and the entire ship may get contaminated with asbestos dust in the air,” Steven said.  He explained how Kazan Law identifies the source of asbestos exposure, whose asbestos products were involved, and then holds those companies accountable. Although many cases are settled out of court, some cases go to trial. These cases can earn seven figure settlements, with many reaching jury verdicts of over $10 million.

“Our cases that do go to trial tend to produce very good results for our clients in terms of money,” Steven said.  Although he maintained that client settlement amounts are confidential he said, “In 40 plus years we have never represented an asbestos victim who did not recover money. We’ve been very successful at getting compensation for veterans as well as others who have had asbestos disease.”

Steven was commended on the air for “fighting the fight for all of us and especially the veterans.”

Justice Through Asbestos Litigation

Asbestos was used in nearly every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. The most common risks for asbestos exposure resulted from insulation used in ships and vehicles from the 1930s until the 1970s. Symptoms of illness from asbestos exposure, such as mesothelioma, do not emerge for decades after the exposure.

It seems unjust that not only did brave members of the armed forces confront gunfire and bombs from enemy attacks and endure harsh living conditions, but years later they also face death from exposure to asbestos in the very ships and aircraft in which they served our country.  This is why asbestos litigation is especially important to achieve justice for veterans.

How Veterans may have been exposed to asbestos

According to the Veterans Administration, veterans who also served in these civilian occupations may have been exposed to asbestos: mining, milling, shipyard work, insulation work, demolition, carpentry and construction, manufacturing and installation of products such as flooring and roofing.

Compensation Benefits for Health Problems

Veterans may file a claim for disability compensation for health problems related to exposure to asbestos during military service. Every veteran also has ‎the right to sue. For a veteran, choosing the best attorney for asbestos litigation is crucial to achieving the highest compensation award possible.


Your Mesothelioma Healthcare Team

mesothelioma healthcareA mesothelioma diagnosis may bring some relief (at last you have the answer to what is causing your symptoms). You may also feel overwhelmed by the seriousness of this disease. Mesothelioma healthcare can be intensive and all-consuming. Suddenly, your life is turned upside down, your priorities rearranged.

You will need care that can slow or stop the growth of your tumors as well as palliative care to ease your symptoms and free you from pain as much as possible. You will want to spend time with your family without placing the whole burden of mesothelioma healthcare on your loved ones.

As you may realize if you have friends or family who have received a cancer diagnosis, it takes a village to provide mesothelioma healthcare. Here are some of the providers and other resources that you will probably want on your mesothelioma care team.

Mesothelioma Healthcare Specialists

Oncologists are doctors who specialize in treating cancer patients. Some oncologists specialize even further, focusing on mesothelioma healthcare. If you can get treatment from or consult with physicians and surgeons who have treated numerous mesothelioma patients, you know you will be getting the best care available.

The Stanford Health Care, Stanford Medical Center, offers mesothelioma patients the chance to participate in clinical trials of the latest treatment options, plus the wealth of knowledge of mesothelioma healthcare that this teaching hospital offers. The University of San Francisco Medical Center includes a thoracic oncology program that provides top-notch care for mesothelioma patients. Other centers that specialize in mesothelioma healthcare exist around the country. We can help you connect with high quality care near your home.

If you’re a veteran, you may qualify for care through the VA. Because so many veterans were exposed to asbestos during their military service, the VA employs mesothelioma specialists at some VA centers. The San Francisco Bay Area VA hospitals, because of their proximity to private healthcare centers that specialize in mesothelioma healthcare, have extra resources for treating veterans with mesothelioma. If you don’t live near a VA Hospital that employs mesothelioma specialists, you have the right to travel to receive care at any VA center. You can also consult remotely with a specialist through the VA system, so you can receive top notch mesothelioma healthcare advice without leaving home.

Your oncology team will be the ones to prescribe and administer chemotherapy, immunotherapy and/or radiation, depending on what treatments are indicated.

Mesothelioma Surgeons

If surgery is part of the care plan that your physicians feel is right for you, your team will probably include a thoracic surgeon if you have pleural mesothelioma. Your lungs are a complex and delicate organ. Your thoracic surgeon specializes in operating on lung tissue to remove tumors and diseased tissue while preserving your lung function as much as possible.

While surgery is not the most common option for mesothelioma healthcare, there are some promising treatments that combine surgery with chemotherapy and/or radiation to increase survival times. Surgery is more common among patients who are diagnosed with early stage mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Healthcare Support from Your Primary Physician

Mesothelioma is a serious and rare cancer, so your primary care doctor probably doesn’t provide mesothelioma healthcare every day. Don’t paint your family doctor out of the picture once you have a mesothelioma diagnosis, however. Your primary care provider knows more about your overall health than anyone. He or she can be a valuable member of your mesothelioma healthcare team. Your family physician may be able to contribute by prescribing pain medication and providing referrals to support your mental and physical health while you are undergoing treatment. Keep your doctor informed about your ongoing treatment with various specialists and you might find you have a tremendous ally in gathering the best possible mesothelioma healthcare team.

Mental Health is Part of Mesothelioma Healthcare

Many people become understandably depressed after a cancer diagnosis. Even if you don’t have a history of depression, the weight of your mesothelioma diagnosis can make it hard to get out of bed in the morning.

You don’t have to suffer alone. It’s perfectly natural and normal to reach out for help from a psychologist or psychiatrist. Improving your mental and emotional outlook can improve your prognosis and help you get the most out of the time you have left. Psychological care is an important – and often neglected – facet of mesothelioma healthcare.

The Stanford Medicine Cancer Center is one mesothelioma healthcare provider that recognizes the value of emotional support. With its Cancer Supportive Care Program, the facility offers free support groups where mesothelioma patients can connect with others in the same situation and receive emotional and spiritual support.

Stanford’s services include support for families, too. Family services include workshops for caregivers, financial counseling, and support services for surviving family members of the mesothelioma patient.

Creative Mesothelioma Support

Some cancer healthcare providers recognize and incorporate the healing properties of music and art as part of mesothelioma healthcare. Stanford’s Cancer Center has live piano music.

At the University of California San Francisco, mesothelioma patients can join Art for Recovery. This award-winning program gives patients an outlet to express their feelings through artistic expression and writing. This, in turn, helps others who can view the words and paintings created by patients, which are on display in the program’s gallery.

Friends and Family in the Mesothelioma Healthcare Picture

Of course, your friends and family are crucial members of your mesothelioma healthcare team. No matter how strong and resilient you are, you will need help to navigate the ins and outs of mesothelioma healthcare. The people who love you can pitch in by driving you to appointments and cooking meals as well as offering much-needed emotional support. Your mesothelioma diagnosis may make you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you, but you don’t have to go it alone.

Families may find help in organizing mesothelioma healthcare for a loved one through websites set up to schedule community care, such as Caring Bridge, Care Calendar, and Lotsa Helping Hands. At the names indicate, many hands make light work when it comes to mesothelioma healthcare.

You can also connect with mesothelioma patients and their supporters through online communities. Mesothelioma Circle offers connections throughout the US and around the globe on its blog, on Twitter @mesocircle, and through @MesotheliomaCircle on Facebook.

Hospice Mesothelioma Healthcare

Hospice provides in-home end-of-life care for patients with a terminal diagnosis. Patients may sometimes also receive short-term inpatient care in hospice centers. Hospice can be a crucial part of mesothelioma healthcare, providing counseling, support for family caregivers, and expert pain management and palliative care. Hospice can bring a medical bed into your home for ease and comfort and send home nurses to visit. Hospice can help make the final months or weeks of mesothelioma healthcare much more comfortable for patients and their families.



Investigating Your Asbestos Exposure

asbestos exposure Proving asbestos exposure requires rock-solid evidence in order to receive financial compensation from those responsible for your exposure to asbestos. Your asbestos exposure occurred decades before symptoms of asbestos-related illness emerge!  Many of the businesses that have knowingly caused lethal asbestos exposure to unsuspecting people are counting on you not to remember when, where and how you were exposed to the deadly mineral. But those guilty parties haven’t counted on the excellent work done by Kazan Law’s team of asbestos investigators.

Because of the complexities surrounding asbestos exposure and the importance of discovering the facts for a court case, Kazan Law maintains a full time staff of seven investigators. These investigators support the work of Kazan Law’s 25asbestos attorneys, who include the firm’s founding partners.

To learn more about the role of Kazan Law’s investigators in the discovery of information that connect an individual’s asbestos-related illness to a specific asbestos exposure, we spoke with Katherine Graves. Katherine has been an investigator with Kazan Law for 16 years.

Asbestos Exposure Investigations

Why does Kazan Law have seven full-time investigators?

Because evidence of asbestos exposure is so important, we place a lot of value on the investigative process.

How do Kazan Law’s investigators work on an asbestos exposure case?

We each have our own cases that we are working on.  Certain people have expertise in specific areas. I am the resident aircraft expert for asbestos exposure related to that industry. We have someone else who does a lot of work on refineries.  But we all know a little bit about everything.  

What is the first step of the process?

We meet with the client to get information. We do research and figure out how the pieces fit together in terms of asbestos exposure.  People may have had jobs they forgot about, or they didn’t do for very long, and we need to find out about those. If the exposure came from their father’s job, we would want to talk to him if he is still alive. Then we write up all the information in a memo for the attorneys. We give recommendations on the strength of a case, where it could be filed in terms of jurisdiction and who the potential defendants should be.  We figure out who the culpable parties are – who to sue.  The attorneys will then go over the legal logistics of the case with the client.  We are constantly absorbing information and conveying information.

Do people come to the Kazan Law office for you to interview them?

We will go to see the client.  They may be going through chemotherapy and we want to be respectful of their health and their time.  Many people who worked in shipyard or manufacturing plants where they may have been exposed to asbestos have retired and have moved away from the Bay Area. We travel often to Washington State, the Sierra foothills, Southern California and Las Vegas.  But people contact us from all parts of the country. 

How do you follow up with research?

Because Kazan Law has been around since 1974, over all these years we have acquired a lot of relevant documents about major employers and asbestos exposure. Whatever documents we get all contribute to our institutional knowledge as a firm. Every case has contributed to our knowledge base which in turn contributes to our future cases. The accumulation of documents we have is jaw-dropping.  We have very comprehensive documents. We have a records department  that scans everything for us so we can access it from our laptops.

For example someone might say “I bought some joint compound when I remodeled my house in 1975 and did the drywall work.”  Let’s say he tells me he bought it from American Builders in Cupertino.  I can go into our data bases and do a search for American Builders. We have pictures of products that we can show people and we can ask them was this what you used?

We also use ancestry.com and newspaper archives.com.  We have all these incredible tools at our fingertips that we didn’t have before the internet. We used to have to go to libraries and look at stuff on microfilm for hours on end.

What else do you do after the case moves forward?

Based on our extensive research, we can help the attorneys determine which witnesses should testify. Then we help the attorneys get ready for their testimony.

We also help the case by doing research on the companies involved. It is not only about whether they exposed someone to asbestos. It is also important to find out what did this company know about asbestos and when did they know it? What meetings did they go to, what congressional hearings did they testify at?  There are punitive damages under consideration. We meet with the attorneys and constantly update them about the state of these investigations.

What is it like working on asbestos exposure cases as an investigator?

It is incredibly difficult and extremely rewarding. We put deep attention and time into every single case. That is how we get such great results for our clients.  Our investigators work with the attorneys on each case from start to finish. If it does go to verdict, we will be there in the courtroom with our heart wrapped around it.

What is the importance of having investigators when there are lawyers at the firm?

Most other firms do not have investigators like Kazan does.  So they don’t have the opportunity to dig in deep like we do. They may use contract investigators or their lawyers are trying to do lawyering and investigating.  And the resulting investigations are not as detailed and in depth as ours. Because we get in so deep and learn so much about these companies, our cases get better results.






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