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Best Asbestos Law Firm Traits

best asbestos law firm If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or another serious asbestos disease, you will want to understand what the best asbestos law firm can do for you and your family. The difference between an experienced and dedicated lawyer and a mediocre one could be millions of dollars in compensation for you and your loved ones. Here are some of the things to look for when you are ready to hire the best asbestos law firm.

Three Words: Experience, Experience, Experience

When you hire someone, experience counts. You want the chef in your restaurant not just to be a good cook but to feel passion for food. You want a tax professional who not only understands tax laws but also has filed enough tax returns that he or she knows the best way to get your refund quickly. You want to work with people who understand pitfalls and opportunities and use that knowledge to your advantage.

Nowhere is this truer than when choosing the best asbestos law firm to handle your mesothelioma lawsuit. Kazan Law has been part of the asbestos litigation movement from its beginning. As soon as our law firm opened in 1974, we began to pursue the corporations responsible for diseases caused by asbestos exposure. The principals at Kazan Law have been at the forefront of asbestos law as it has evolved, from the 1970s to the present day.

Over the past 40 years, Kazan Law has represented more than two thousand clients suffering from mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases. We understand how mesothelioma trust funds work because our attorneys are members of the advisory boards of almost all asbestos trusts.

At Kazan Law, we focus solely on representing plaintiffs in asbestos product liability, premises liability, and negligence cases. Building our practice into one of the best asbestos law firms in the country is our core mission, and we have been working hard at that for decades.

The Best Asbestos Law Firm Is a Winner

The most important measure of whether your asbestos law firm is the best for you and your family can be summed up in one word: compensation. Whether you are able to negotiate a settlement or your case goes to trial, you want a law firm with a winning record.

Over the years, Kazan Law has hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients in settlements and at trial. We have won huge jury verdicts, including more than $27 million for a woman who suffered take-home exposure to asbestos through the clothing of her ex-husband, who had worked installing insulation. We won over $11 million in a wrongful death lawsuit for the family of a man who died of mesothelioma after working around asbestos brake linings. In many instances we are able to secure compensation for pain and suffering as well as for punitive damages. In one automotive brakes case, we won compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering for a couple where the husband had contracted mesothelioma from brake dust. In addition we were able to win punitive damages,  meant to punish companies for willful wrongdoing and discourage such behavior in the future, of $13.5 million in that case, for a total verdict of $17 million.

If you want the best chance to win your case, go with a winning law firm. When you are choosing a mesothelioma law firm, look at their history of winning verdicts and settlements. The best asbestos law firm will have a string of victories for its clients.

The Best Asbestos Law Firm Charges No Money Up Front

If an asbestos lawyer asks you for payment up front, that is a red flag. The best asbestos law firms will work with you on contingency basis.

A contingency fee agreement between a law firm and a client means that the client pays no upfront fees for the lawsuit. The law firm foots the bill for the expense of investigating the claim and pursuing the lawsuit. If you win, the law firm gets a percentage of your verdict or settlement as compensation. , If you don’t win your case, you don’t owe a thing.

The best asbestos law firm will interview you to find out whether you have a good case. Their lawyers will be honest with you about whether it’s worth your time and energy to pursue a lawsuit. If they think you have a good case, they will work with you on a contingency basis.

Before you hire an asbestos law firm, find out what their fee structure is and how costs are shared after a verdict. Some law firms deduct 100% of the case expenses from the client’s share of the award. These costs can add up, particularly if the defendant refused to settle and the case went to trial. At Kazan Law, we deduct the costs before we divide the compensation and take our contingency fee. This means we shoulder  our share of the costs of the case and our clients get more compensation.

At the end of the day, the best asbestos law firm is one whose employees care deeply about achieving justice for people who have been harmed by negligent corporations. The best asbestos law firm is one whose attorneys are passionate about winning the best possible compensation for people who are ill because of their exposure to asbestos – people like you.

At Kazan Law, we like to think we are one of the best asbestos law firms. Call us and see if you think so too.

How Asbestos Lawyers Work For You

asbestos lawyers Asbestos lawyers begin working for you from the moment they agree to undertake an asbestos lawsuit on your behalf. You are the one who is suffering from asbestos exposure ramifications. Any asbestos lawyer who works with you should make every effort to accommodate you while they are working to win your asbestos lawsuit. Time is of the essence in an asbestos case. All asbestos lawyers should make your case a top priority and proceed as quickly as the legal system and thorough diligent work allows.
Every asbestos case is unique. No two are exactly alike. Good asbestos lawyers will not rely on any cookie-cutter way to handle an asbestos lawsuit because there is none. But at times there are several distinct phases that an asbestos lawsuit will go through.

Throughout the asbestos lawsuit process, your asbestos lawyers should always:

  • Answer any questions you have thoroughly in language you understand
  • Provide you with all status updates relevant to your case

How Asbestos Lawyers Will Research Your Case

An important starting point for all cases that asbestos lawyers take on is doing careful research. They need to find out all the information possible about your asbestos case. This information can help determine how strong a case you have and how likely you are to win it or receive favorable settlements. In legal terms this research phase is called “Discovery” because facts are being discovered. These facts give clarity to the lawsuit and help both sides understand what happened that caused your asbestos exposure and resulting asbestos-related illness.
Of course, the defendant’s attorneys will be following the same procedure. Their goal is also to discover information about the case. But they are looking for information that will help their client, not you. Your asbestos attorneys are responsible for protecting you and helping you when the opposition’s attorneys question you about anything on the case.

The discovery research will mostly pertain to your work history, your medical records and any military service. Information about specific asbestos-containing products you may have had to work with and a lack of safety procedures at the job site will also need to be researched by your asbestos attorneys.
Three important discovery research procedures are:

  1. Interrogatories – Attorneys asking written questions for background information
  2. Subpoenas – Attorneys requesting specific documents for the case
  3. Depositions – Live questioning sessions under oath that often are recorded on video. Both sides are given a chance to ask questions. Your asbestos attorneys should meet with you before a deposition to help you get ready, and will protect you throughout the process.

How Asbestos Lawyers Handle Bankrupt Defendants

Even the best asbestos attorneys may face limited options for you if the companies that caused your asbestos exposure have filed for bankruptcy. The reality is that these exploitive companies likely exposed not just you but possibly hundreds or thousands of other people to asbestos.

In order to keep from having to fully compensate each individual whose lives have been ruined by a company’s carelessness with asbestos-containing materials, a company can file for bankruptcy. Their attorneys then will help them set up a bankruptcy settlement trust. These trusts limit the amount of money every plaintiff can receive. You can be sure the amount is less than a plaintiff’s asbestos attorneys could have secured for them in an individual trial.
Experienced asbestos attorneys will still attempt to bring the case to trial. At the same time, they will follow all the necessary legal procedures to obtain the best settlements possible for you from all appropriate trusts. Two Ways

Asbestos Attorneys Should Prepare For Trials

Asbestos attorneys should follow two key steps in preparing your case for trial:

  1. Getting a trial date – It is well known that today many courts are clogged with cases. There is a backlog of cases awaiting trial. Getting a trial date set for any case isn’t easy. But if health is a concern, your asbestos attorneys should have the experience needed to get your case to the top of the trial calendar. This will require your asbestos attorneys to be able to do all the necessary discovery of information in a condensed period of time.
  2. Conducting settlement negotiations – Good asbestos lawyers will begin to explore possible settlements with the companies they are charging with causing your asbestos exposure. If the asbestos lawyers have done their research well, the lawyers for the other side will likely agree to a very favorable settlement once they realize all the evidence points to the guilt of their client.

The Role of Asbestos Lawyers in the Resolution of a Case

Asbestos lawyers’ roles do not end with the settlement or verdict of a court case. It is highly likely that no matter which side wins the trial that the case will be appealed. Our law firm has fought cases all the way to the State Supreme Court and has won; setting new precedents in asbestos law in the process.

If there is a settlement, your asbestos lawyers should negotiate the best possible settlement agreement and help you through the process of signing release papers. These papers mean that the case is closed and cannot be further litigated against the settling defendant.

Lastly but of great importance, asbestos lawyers also need to help you and your family members collect and divide the money they have won for you. Once all the proper documents have been signed, receiving money should take no longer than three months.

Mesothelioma Lawyers’ Funding Helps Win Victory Over Corporate Secrecy

Mesothelioma Lawyers

At Kazan Law, we are not just mesothelioma lawyers. We are passionate about everyone’s right to know about potential hazards in our environment and in the products that shape our lives. As part of our commitment to corporate accountability, we joined with another law firm to fund a position at Public Justice, a public interest legal group whose mission includes the pursuit of “high impact lawsuits to combat social and economic injustice.”

That funding recently reaped big dividends for all lawyers who fight against corporate wrongdoing. Jennifer Bennett, the Kazan Budd attorney at Public Justice, won a landmark ruling in the Ninth Circuit that will prevent corporations from keeping evidence of their negligence under wraps.

Challenging a Judicial Standard

Bennett was an outstanding member of the class of 2010 at Yale Law School. With Kazan Law’s help, Public Justice was able to offer this promising young legal mind a place among the ranks of lawyers dedicated to defending plaintiffs’ rights. One of her first projects was to work on a class action suit against Chrysler for an ignition defect that had led to countless collisions and caused more than one hundred fatalities.

The case, Velasco v. Chrysler, involved a defect in the ignition switches in Chrysler automobiles. The defect causes the engine to suddenly cut out while the car is going full speed on the highway. The automaker had never informed the public about the ignition problem. It asked the judge for an order that the records in the Velasco case be filed under seal. This meant that the public – including other attorneys, journalists, and consumers – weren’t able to find out the important information uncovered by this case.

The plaintiffs asked the court to unseal the records and warn other drivers of Chrysler vehicles about this dangerous defect. The US District court refused, despite clear public safety implications. The judge took the position that court records such as these can only be unsealed after a jury verdict.

Mesothelioma Lawyers: Breaking a Cycle of Corporate Wrongdoing

The problem is that most cases never go to a jury. Bennett describes the deadly cycle of corporate malfeasance and the justice system’s complicity in a recent blog post: “Corporation conceals deadly defect. Someone dies, and their family sues. Corporation settles quietly. Court records are sealed. Nobody finds out. More people are hurt; more people sue; more settlements are reached; more records are sealed.” It sometimes takes years or even decades for the truth to come out.

The Velasco case seemed destined to follow this pattern. Chrysler settled before a verdict. The court records, along with the alarming facts about the malfunctioning ignitions, remained sealed away from public scrutiny.

Enter Public Justice, which intervened in the case on behalf of the Center for Auto Safety. Represented by Jennifer Bennett, the Center for Auto Safety appealed to unseal the records, taking the case up to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Holding Corporations Accountable

In a major victory for transparency, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the records cannot be kept secret. In doing so, the court created a much broader standard for unsealing court documents. When information is “more than tangentially related to the merits of a case,” the court said, the public deserves access.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of this legal decision. If not for this ruling, thousands of Chrysler drivers would not have known that they might have faulty ignition switches. The car company would not have to face public accountability for this major product defect. Even more importantly, judges will use the new standard in future cases.

Bennett highlighted the significance of the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in her blog post:

“This is a big deal. It makes the settle-and-conceal model of handling corporate misconduct much more difficult to pull off: Corporations can no longer hope to prevent public access to court records simply by settling a case before a court gets a chance to make a final determination.”

Lawsuits are one way to bring to light willful corporate negligence. Through the discovery process, plaintiffs’ lawyers gain access to internal communications that can reveal that a corporation knew about a harmful product for years and lied about that knowledge. The ruling won by Bennett and Public Justice may stop corporations from hiding their crimes behind a wall of legal secrecy.

Mesothelioma Lawyers’ Funding Helped It Happen

As mesothelioma lawyers, we are very familiar with the harm that comes when corporations hide information about health and safety from the public. Manufacturers used asbestos with no worker safeguards for decades after they knew about its health risks. Those decades led to countless avoidable deaths.

The truth about asbestos and mesothelioma are public now. But many more dangers are still hidden by bad corporate citizens. The Velasco decision will help plaintiffs’ lawyers bring more of those hazards to light. Jennifer Bennett, the Kazan Budd attorney at Public Justice, won a court decision that will save lives in the years to come by holding corporations accountable for the harm they cause. It’s a terrific start to a promising legal career. Kazan Law is proud to have played a role in supporting this talented young lawyer who has already accomplished so much.

 

 

 

Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Mesothelioma Lawyers

mesothelioma lawyers 1. How old is your firm?

Mesothelioma lawyers did not really exist until Kazan Law helped create this vital legal specialty in the 1970s. Although asbestos exposure had long been known to cause illness and death, many companies continued to ignore the health hazard they caused. Because of the long latency period before asbestos exposure emerges as mesothelioma, many people exposed to asbestos may not have realized what had caused their lethal illness. In 1974, as a recent Harvard Law School graduate, I started my own law practice, seeking justice for workers injured or killed on the job . I soon received a plea for help from labor union representatives who noticed death certificates piling up for workers from the Lompoc, CA Johns-Manville plant. The landmark cases that we brought to court and resolved against the company and its doctors helped launch the field of asbestos litigation.

Today Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood has 22 mesothelioma lawyers including me. As we build on our 40 plus years as top mesothelioma lawyers, our firm continues to excel at pursuing justice for mesothelioma victims and others exposed to asbestos. Kazan Law continues to put its decades of experience in pioneering asbestos lawsuits into practice for our clients.

  • We win precedent-setting verdicts for our clients. An $27.3 million verdict was achieved last year by our mesothelioma lawyers in a wrongful death suit on behalf of a mesothelioma victim, his wife and Family.
  • Our firm’s mesothelioma lawyers have played a major role in winning precedent-setting rulings in the California Appellate and Supreme Courts.
  • We continue to receive recognition from our colleagues in law journal polls for being among the top mesothelioma lawyers in the nation

Since 1974, we have represented thousands of people – those suffering from mesothelioma and their families. We treasure our reputation as pioneers in asbestos litigation who are among the most experienced mesothelioma lawyers in the United States.

2.  How do I know if I have an asbestos disease?

Mesothelioma lawyers worthy of that designation will not waste your time or make empty promises to you. Reputable mesothelioma lawyers like those at Kazan Law will only take your case if you have an official diagnosis of asbestos-related disease from a medical doctor.

You should schedule an appointment to be tested for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases if:

You know you have been exposed to asbestos if you currently are having symptoms that suggest you might have mesothelioma or another asbestos-caused illness. This could include trouble breathing, a persistent cough, tiredness, chest pain, loss of appetite among others. The tricky part is that these symptoms could be caused by many other conditions or illnesses such as the flu, an allergy or some other type of cancer or infectious disease. The truth is you cannot or should not try to determine on your own what is causing these symptoms. If any of these symptoms have lingered for more than two weeks, you need to pursue being tested for a number of diseases. That should include being tested for mesothelioma whether or not you recall being exposed to asbestos. Then an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you discover how you were exposed to asbestos if you receive an official mesothelioma diagnosis. Mesothelioma is a silent killer that slowly but steadily destroys your lungs over decades without you even knowing you have it. By the time the disease has caused enough damage for symptoms to emerge, it is nearly always fatal. Any level of exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma. If you recall being in a situation where you may have inhaled asbestos dust whether at work, on the clothes of a family member who worked around asbestos or in a structure that was being demolished or renovated, tell your doctor.   X-rays taken of your lungs can look for any scarring caused by tiny sharp asbestos fibers , and will help your doctor evaluate your situation.

3. How soon after I am exposed to asbestos should I file a lawsuit with mesothelioma lawyers?

Expert mesothelioma lawyers like those at Kazan Law have a keen understanding of how time sensitive asbestos lawsuits can be. Time, to paraphrase the saying, is not on your side when it comes to asbestos lawsuits and mesothelioma, the lethal cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

By the time mesothelioma symptoms emerge, anywhere from ten to thirty years or more after the initial exposure to asbestos, it usually means the disease is in an advanced stage. Although progress in medical science is improving mesothelioma treatment and some patients with mesothelioma are living longer with the disease, most mesothelioma cases are fatal within one to two years after diagnosis. It is difficult for even the best mesothelioma lawyers to overcome the challenge of not having the mesothelioma patient present as a plaintiff able to provide testimony in an asbestos lawsuit.

Also, every state has its own statute of limitations, a time limit on initiating certain types of legal actions, for asbestos cases. In California, the statute of limitations for filing an asbestos case can run out one year after receiving an official medical diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease.

Asbestos exposure alone does not mean you will develop mesothelioma or any other asbestos-caused illness. It increases the chance that you could. If you know you were exposed to asbestos, it is crucial that you tell your doctor and discuss having regular lung screenings.

If and when you receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma – and we absolutely hope that you won’t – it is imperative that you retain mesothelioma lawyers who should file a lawsuit for you as soon as possible.

4. How much will it cost me for you to investigate my claim?

When you are struggling with mesothelioma, you should not have to worry about attorney fees. We do not charge you anything while we investigate whether or not you have a claim that will stand up in court. If we agree to take on your asbestos litigation case – and we only take cases we think we will win – you will not have to pay us anything until we win or settle your case. That means we work on a contingency fee basis. Our fee is contingent on us getting you money. Kazan Law will never make you pay up front or ask you to pay for a preliminary investigation.

5. How large a settlement or judgment can I expect to recover?

Mesothelioma lawyers who are reputable and reliable should not promise you any specific amount or even guess at an amount that they will be able to secure for you either as a settlement or as part of a trial verdict when you first meet. There are too many variables to consider.

Variables that will help determine the financial outcome of your asbestos lawsuit will include the extent of your illness, the strength of the evidence you can produce to prove that you were exposed to asbestos and what companies may have knowingly caused this exposure. Also what financial resources, including insurance, a company or companies you claim are responsible may possess. Another factor is whether a company you want to name as a defendant has already been taken to court so many times that they have declared bankruptcy and set up a bankruptcy trust. This limit the amount you may receive.

Because of Kazan Law’s well-known reputation as top mesothelioma lawyers, most defendants we sue and their attorneys will settle out of court with us rather than go to trial. We will not take your case unless we believe we can win it, and we take very few cases. We do not disclose the amounts of the many settlements we handle out of respect for the privacy of our clients.

When our cases have gone to trial the amounts our clients have been awarded by juries are a matter of public record. The amounts range from $27 million to $5.4 million. You can read more about these and other specific jury verdict awards we’ve won for our clients.

 

 

 

 

 

EFH Asbestos Claim Deadline Now Here

EFH asbestos claimDecember 14 is your last chance ever to file an EFH asbestos claim (Energy Futures Holding).  And that day is almost here. On December 14 at 5 pm Eastern Standard Time  – which is 2 pm in California – you and your family will permanently lose the chance to achieve justice from this giant energy corporation even if you become sick or die from asbestos exposure in years to come.

Filing an EFH asbestos claim will require documentation so please do not wait until the last minute. You potentially have much to gain by filing a claim and much to lose by doing nothing.

If you or a family member has ever worked at an EFH power plant, you must have your attorney file a claim with the EFH Claims Processing Center by the December 14, 2015 deadline.  The time to act is now.

We at Kazan Law can file the EFH asbestos claim for you if you do not have a qualified asbestos attorney.  You will not be charged anything unless we obtain a future settlement for you. Although December 14th is the deadline at the EFH Claims Processing Center, Kazan Law must receive the claim form and our signed form authorizing us to represent you by Monday, December 7, 2015. We also must be able to speak with you by close of business that day in order to prepare your formal EFH asbestos claim form for submission.

Filing a claim whether or not you are ill right now with an asbestos-related disease will protect your future legal rights. This is not how we usually do things but the unfairness of the EFH December 14 deadline leaves no other option.

December 14 EFH Asbestos Claim Deadline Imposed by Bankruptcy

The December 14 deadline for all EFH asbestos claims is unfair. It shortchanges potentially thousands of victims who may have been exposed to asbestos at an EFH-owned plant but currently have no symptoms of asbestos-caused disease.  But when you are a $36 billion energy company like EFH with holdings all across the US and around the world, fairness does not enter into the equation.

Energy Future Holdings, knowing it had many asbestos claims against it, successfully filed for bankruptcy. This helped them to limit their financial losses and also drastically limited the legal rights of all its past, present and future asbestos victims.

EFH was required to publish notices about the December 14 claim filing deadline in newspapers and also required to directly contact former employees.  But many people either may not have seen the item in the newspapers or received the letters that EFH was ordered to send, and may not realize that this deadline applies to them.  The December 14 deadline applies to everyone – ill or not.  Please share this information with anyone you know who may be affected.

Who the December 14 Deadline Impacts

The December 14 deadline for filing asbestos claims against EFH potentially impacts thousands of past employees, employees of other companies who worked at sites where companies for which EFH is now responsible did work, and all their family members. Many of them may not know that the power plant where they worked was owned by EFH or worked on by EFH companies. That is understandable.  About 70 different companies are part of EFH.  EFH subsidiary companies include Ebasco, EECI, Enserch, Lone Star Gas, Luminant and TXU, and many more. They worked [are located ]all over the United States and in overseas countries.

You can find complete lists of EFH-owned domestic and international plants on our website. Please take a look to see whether a plant where you or a relative worked is included.

Asbestos-caused diseases may not produce any symptoms for decades. You may be ill but may not be diagnosed until many years from now.  That is why it is so important to file a claim against EFH by the December 14 deadline if you or a family member ever worked at any of the power plants named in the lists we have provided.

Why You Need to Act Before the December 14 Deadline

Please do not wait until the December 14 deadline to act.  You need to get started sooner to give a reputable asbestos attorney time to review your information. And we strongly suggest that you do not try to file a claim on your own.  It will take just a few moments to complete our asbestos claim form with some basic facts about your situation.  We will get in touch with you with any additional questions we may have about your circumstances. We will also give you free expert legal advice about whether you should file a claim with the EFH Claims Processing Center or file any other asbestos-related claim.

If we find you meet the criteria required to file a claim and if you would like our firm to file an EFH asbestos claim for you, you will need to complete and sign a form that gives us official authorization to represent you.

Please understand that submitting this form to us or any other law firm for that matter is not the same thing as submitting it to the EFH Bankruptcy.  The Bankruptcy Claim Form deadline is Monday, December 14, 2015.  The form you would need to sign for proof that we are your legal representation has to be completed by Monday, December 7, 2015.  In addition to completing that form, we also need to talk to you before the end of the business day on Monday, December 7 so that we can move forward and prepare your formal claim.

We will do everything we possibly can to help you. But the first move is up to you.  Please make that move now while there is still time. Remember, all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. So do something now.

 

Union Pacific Liable For Worker’s Death in $6,951,000 Mesothelioma Lawsuit Verdict for Kazan Law

mesothelioma lawsuitAfter a six-week trial, an Alameda County jury has found that Union Pacific Railroad Company is responsible for a $6,951,000 mesothelioma lawsuit verdict for the suffering and wrongful death of Jeffrey Emerson, who worked as a boilermaker at the Southern Pacific Railroad from 1971 to 1995. The company merged with Union Pacific in 1997.

Mr. Emerson was regularly exposed to asbestos at Southern Pacific’s Sacramento Locomotive Shops, both directly in his job and as a bystander to the work of other craftsmen.  In July 2013, he was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a terminal cancer.  For the next seven months, his doctors provided care and treatment. He died on January 24, 2014, just 10 days after his deposition for the mesothelioma lawsuit.

Discovery in the mesothelioma lawsuit revealed that for more than 20 years Southern Pacific had used many different types of asbestos products, including in its diesel locomotives and in piping around its facilities.  Southern Pacific did not comply with the regulatory requirements regarding asbestos for at least 15 years.  Instead it allowed workers to be exposed to asbestos without proper protection throughout the 1970s and much of the 1980s.  Only in the mid to late 1980s did Southern Pacific begin to implement some asbestos safety procedures – too late for Mr. Emerson.

Prior to trial, Union Pacific claimed immunity from the mesothelioma lawsuit based on a prior release of claims for an unrelated back injury.  The trial court denied this defense, ruling that Mr. Emerson’s release of back-injury claims cannot be construed as waiving future claims for asbestos-disease injuries.  The case proceeded on the merits under the Federal Employers Liability Act, which governs claims for railroad-workplace injuries.

At trial, Union Pacific argued that Mr. Emerson died not from asbestos-caused mesothelioma but from lung cancer caused by cigarette smoking (which Mr. Emerson quit in the early 1980s).  Alternatively, Union Pacific argued that, if Mr. Emerson did have mesothelioma, it was caused not by asbestos exposure at Southern Pacific but by earlier exposures in the Navy.  But Union Pacific’s argument that Mr. Emerson was not exposed at the railroad was undercut by an internal company record, obtained by Kazan Law in discovery, admitting that Mr. Emerson was extensively exposed there.

Karen Emerson, Mr. Emerson’s wife, testified about the extensive suffering her husband endured during his seven-month battle with mesothelioma.  He was treated at the Mayo Clinic with both chemotherapy and 30 rounds of radiation.  Post-death tissue analysis revealed extensive asbestos fibers in his lung tissue.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Verdict

The jury rejected each of Union Pacific’s defenses, found that Mr. Emerson indeed suffered from mesothelioma, and awarded $6,500,000 in pain and suffering damages in the mesothelioma lawsuit.  The court had already determined that Mr. Emerson’s economic damages totaled $451,265.  The total verdict is $6,951,265.00.

The Emerson family was represented by Kazan Law partners Joseph Satterley, Justin Bosl and Denise Abrams, of-counsel Ted Pelletier and associate Ryan Harris.

Experts who testified were pathologists Dr. William Salyer (Oakland) and Dr. Jerrold Abraham (Syracuse), microscopist Dr. Ronald Dodson (Tyler, TX),  pulmonologist Dr. Barry Horn (Oakland), occupational-medicine specialist Dr. David Egilman (Attlesboro, Mass), and treating oncologist Dr. Gregory Yang (Yuma, AZ).

7 Signs Your Asbestos Law Firm is Ineffective

Asbestos law firmIf you have mesothelioma or another asbestos disease, choosing a good asbestos law firm may be the most important decision you make. An experienced asbestos lawyer will understand all the issues involved in your asbestos lawsuit and work hard to win you fair settlements.

If you have already selected an asbestos law firm but you are not sure the firm is handling your claims well, here are seven signs that your lawyers may not be making your case effectively.

7 Signs Your Asbestos Law Firm is Ineffective

1. Your Lawyer Hands Your Case Off to Another Firm

Some asbestos law firms are actually just case brokers. They fill the Internet with glitzy websites and ads promising great outcomes for people suffering from mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases. After they take your case, they pass it on to the asbestos lawyer who pays them the highest commission for the referral, not the best firm to represent your interests. One rule of thumb: if a firm puts more effort into its website than it does into representing its clients, steer clear.

2. Your Lawyer Doesn’t Pursue All Avenues of Compensation

Seeking compensation for clients with mesothelioma is not just about filing a lawsuit. You may also be entitled to file a claim with asbestos trust funds or receive military disability benefits because of exposure to asbestos while you were in the armed services. An experienced asbestos lawyer will look for every possible way to secure the compensation you need to support you and your family through your illness.

3. Your Lawyer Doesn’t Do a Thorough Investigation

When you are dealing with asbestos disease, the last thing you need is a pile of extra work dropped on you. Top-notch asbestos law firms employ investigators who will research your work and life history and determine which corporations are liable for your asbestos exposure and subsequent illness. You deserve a lawyer who will take the burden off you and build a great case for you.

4. Your Lawyer Pressures You to Settle Quickly

Some asbestos cases do settle quickly, for appropriate amounts of money. More often, however, corporations will push back. Some may offer lowball settlements soon after you file your lawsuit. This is basically “go away” money. A good asbestos law firm may be able to get you a much higher amount once both sides have exchanged documents (the discovery process). In this process, evidence of the corporation’s role in your asbestos exposure and of its knowledge of the toxic nature of the mineral can come to light. If your lawyer pressures you to settle quickly for less money than you were expecting with any defendant who played a significant role in your asbestos exposure, you may want to get a second opinion.

5. Your Lawyer Refuses to Settle

Negotiating a legal settlement is a delicate dance. Defendants want to pay the smallest amount they can to avoid going to trial. Plaintiffs want to get the highest amount they can without having to go through a trial. Because trials are expensive and risky for all sides, more than 80% of asbestos lawsuits end in settlements. An experienced asbestos attorney will understand the value of your claim against each defendant and be able to guide you to a rational decision so you can accept the best settlement offer. If your attorney pushes so aggressively that it forces your case into trial, he or she may lack essential skills or not have your best interests at heart.

6. Your Lawyer Doesn’t Return Your Calls

If no one at your asbestos law firm has time to return your calls, then the firm may have taken on more cases than its lawyers can handle. You deserve an asbestos attorney who has the time to listen and respond to your concerns, answer your questions, and work with you to get the best outcome for your asbestos lawsuit. Personal attention is one of the signs of a high quality asbestos law firm.

7. Your Lawyer Makes Decisions Without Consulting You

This can be a sign that your asbestos lawyer has too many cases on his docket or that she thinks your opinion is not important. While an experienced asbestos lawyer will be able to provide you information to help you navigate the legal process, you should remain in the driver’s seat. No amount of experience or knowledge can trump your right to decide what is best for you.

Finding and choosing an experienced asbestos law firm with a track record of winning fair settlements and jury verdicts for its clients can take time. That time is one of the best investments you can make at this time in your life. It may mean a difference of hundreds of thousands or even millions in the amount of compensation you are able to recover. A bit of extra time to carefully vet the law firm you choose can also save you headaches further down the road.

Asbestos Legislation H.R. 526 & S.327 Will Thwart Justice For Asbestos Victims

asbestos legislationA new asbestos legislation proposed to Congress – “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act” of 2015 – would limit, or greatly slow down, the ability of asbestos trusts to compensate victims by instituting additional requirements for filing and reporting claims.

We at Kazan Law vehemently oppose this asbestos legislation (H.R. 526 and S. 357), as we do all efforts to hijack the rights of injured workers and their families. Please join us in our fight to defeat this horrendous campaign.

The Facts Behind Asbestos Legislation H.R. 526 and S. 357

The H.R. 526 F.A.C.T. Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas (R-TX-27) on January 26, 2015; A similar bill, S. 357, was introduced at the Senate level by Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) on February 4, 2015. Both bills are currently assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

The F.A.C.T. Act is sponsored by Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate. It is also supported by the United States Chamber of Commerce, which listed the bill as one of their top legislative priorities of the 114th legislative session.

H.R.526 & S.357 would require asbestos trusts to publicly disclose information about the settlement terms between trusts and claimants. The information requested and publicly disclosed may include a victim’s name, address, date of birth, last four social security digits, information about children and spouses, employment history, salary history, information about their medical condition, and personal finances.

Interestingly, the corporate defendants would not be subject to similar requirements.

The F.A.C.T. Act – A Trojan Horse Based On A False Premise

On the surface, H.R. 526 & S. 357 appear to be full of good intent, seeking to protect the asbestos trusts against fraudulent claims. However, nestled within the fine print is the ultimate, ulterior motive: To slow down the judicial process.

This isn’t the first time corporate defenders have attempted to make an end run to avoid a claimant’s hard fought compensation. The premise of this particular asbestos legislation is the notion that asbestos trusts are at risk of fraud and “double dipping” by claimants. Which is simply untrue.

There is, in fact, no evidence of any general or systemic fraud with respect to asbestos trusts.  In 2011, the Government Accountability Office investigated possible frauds in the Asbestos Victim Trusts and could not find one example of a fraudulent claim. Besides, there are already safeguards within the trust system to guard against fraudulent Trusts claims, and reject claims that do not meet their burden of proof. Once this burden of proof is met, a claimant/victim is deemed eligible for a settlement.

Asbestos Legislation that Promotes Deadly Delay

However packaged, the F.A.C.T. Act has little to do with transparency; it is yet another strategy by defendant asbestos corporations to avoid responsibility for the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of Americans caused by their products.

It’s all about prolonging the process. For a corporate defendant, the longer a claim is delayed, the better.

This is because, sadly, the majority of mesothelioma patients will fall ill and die within 6 to 18 months after being diagnosed. In California, if the asbestos victim dies before the case is complete, the corporate perpetrators are exempt from paying for pain and suffering endured; the victim’s family receives far less in overall compensation.

Needless to say, if claimants are now required to extensively disclose personal information, this will take additional time. Even the asbestos trust representatives are opposed to this legislation due to the burdensome administrative costs that would be associated with the additional reporting and compliance requirements.

The longer a case is delayed, the greater the chance the victim will die before the final verdict.

Additional Flaws With The F.A.C.T. Asbestos Legislation

  • Privacy and Identity Theft Risks To Victims: Forced to publicly release the personal information of sick and dying victims, asbestos trusts would unwittingly expose these patients to identity theft and other frauds.
  • Expense & Resource Limitations: Trust representatives would need to spend tens of thousands of additional hours every year to compile the lists and respond to all information requests allowed by this legislation. These burdensome administrative costs would significantly reduce recoveries for future trust claimants.
  • Disproportionate Percentage of Veterans Affected: While veterans account for only 8% of our population, they represent 30% of all mesothelioma victims. A delay in justice would add insult to injury for those who served our country.

In sum, the F.A.C.T. Act would not only significantly delay and deny payments to asbestos victims and their families; it would also require that victims publicly disclose detailed, personal information including medical and financial information.

No one dying from cancer should be forced by Congress to choose between protecting their family’s privacy and ensuring their family has some financial security when they are gone.

Besides, if transparency were truly the aim of the F.A.C.T. Act, the proposed policy would apply to both victims and defendant asbestos companies — but this is not the case.

Help Us Stop Asbestos Legislation H.R. 526 and S. 357

At Kazan Law, we are working hard to fight both F.A.C.T. bills currently before Congress. Won’t you please help us in our cause?

Please take a moment to write Congress by filling out the short form on the EWG Action Fund website.

If you are writing on behalf of an organization, please feel free to use this form letter:

 

Overview of Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits

asbestos exposure lawsuitsAsbestos is a toxic mineral that has been used in manufacturing for over a century, despite growing evidence of health risks. Exposure to asbestos can cause a variety of diseases, including lung cancer, non-cancerous lung diseases, and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining around the lungs or other organs. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you may be entitled to compensation from the corporations responsible for your asbestos exposure. To recover the compensation to which you are entitled, you will need to file an asbestos exposure lawsuit.

Getting Started With Your Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit

Choose the attorney to represent you in your lawsuit carefully. The difference between an effective experienced asbestos attorney and an under-qualified attorney can represent hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars in compensation.

You don’t have to file your asbestos exposure lawsuit in the same state where you live and your attorney does not need to be located in the same city, or even the same state as you. It’s a good idea to choose one of the top asbestos law firms in the United States to represent you. If your lawyer lives in a different city, he or she will travel to visit you; you will not need to travel in order to pursue your asbestos exposure lawsuit.

Most good asbestos lawyers will work with you on a contingency fee basis, so your lawsuit won’t cost you any money up front. Instead, your lawyer will receive a percentage of any settlement or judgment he or she wins for you. If you don’t recover any compensation, you won’t have to pay any legal bills.

Your attorney will start by investigating potential sources of your asbestos exposure. Asbestos disease can take 40 years or more to develop, so your asbestos attorney will review your places of employment and other potential exposure sites throughout your life. This will determine the appropriate parties to name as defendants in your asbestos exposure lawsuit. There may be just one or several defendants named in your suit.

The Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit Process

Once your attorney has determined whom to sue, he or she will file a lawsuit on your behalf. After the defendants have been served with the lawsuit, the discovery process begins. The defendants will request your medical and employment records. Your lawyer will ask for information from the defendants that will help determine what levels of asbestos exposure each company was responsible for.

Your asbestos lawyer will handle most of this process without the need for much input from you, other than your testimony at a deposition. Your job during this process is to stay home and take care of your health.

The length of time from when you file your lawsuit to the trial date can vary from a few months to over a year. The judge may agree to an expedited trial schedule if you are seriously ill. However, most lawsuits (about 80%) end in a settlement before trial.

Settling Your Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit

Some defendants, realizing that they have no chance of winning at trial, will settle early to reduce their legal expenses. Our clients often begin to receive settlement money within a few months after they file their asbestos exposure lawsuit.

Other defendants may contest their liability, claiming that your asbestos-related disease was caused by other factors than their corporate malfeasance. If evidence comes to light during the discovery process that these defendants were responsible for your asbestos exposure, they may take a different stance. At this point, defendants may become willing to enter into settlement negotiations to avoid a costly trial they are not likely to win.

On rare occasions, a defendant will refuse to settle and your asbestos exposure lawsuit may proceed to trial. Preparing for and going to trial can take weeks or months. Even if you win your case, the defendant may decide to appeal the verdict, which can stretch the process out even longer, delaying your compensation. However, jury verdicts tend to be larger than settlements (Kazan Law recently won a $27 million verdict for one client).

Key Factors to  Successful Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits

The purpose of filing an asbestos exposure lawsuit is to recover the compensation you are due from the corporations responsible for your exposure to toxic levels of asbestos that caused your current illness. The money you receive can help defray your medical expenses, cover lost wages, and allow you and your family to maintain your standard of living at a crucial time in all of your lives. Because this lawsuit is so important to your family’s future, it’s a good idea to do everything in your power to make sure you are successful.

The most important choice you will make is which asbestos law firm will represent you. An experienced asbestos lawyer, with a track record of winning settlements and judgments for clients just like you, can negotiate the best possible compensation for you.

 

 

 

Asbestos Claims Deadline Looms for Power Plant Workers

EFH bankruptcy

Update: December 15, 2015:  The deadline to file a claim has passed. Subscribe to our blog to receive updates on this case, and the efforts to reverse this unfair bar date ruling. The subscription box is to the right of this post.

Energy Future Holdings (EFH), a $36 billion company, with known asbestos claims against it, has filed for bankruptcy and seeks to drastically limit the legal rights of all its past, present and future asbestos victims. EFH is a very big company that worked on power plants all over the US. It includes Ebasco’s and EECI’s operations nationwide, and Luminant power plants and Oncor power distribution facilities in Texas.

View the EFH plant listings:

Domestic plants

International plants

Whether sick or healthy, if you or a family member have ever worked at any EFH site, you must file a claim by 5 PM Eastern Standard Time on December 14, 2015 or you will lose all rights to make any asbestos claims against this corporate giant and its insurance companies.

If you now have mesothelioma or any other asbestos disease diagnosis and you or a family member worked at any EFH site, you definitely should file a claim. But even if you are healthy, you should file a claim if an EFH site is part of your or a family member’s work history because otherwise your legal rights will be lost.

All EFH site employees and contractors are at risk of having been exposed to asbestos. It would be prudent to file an asbestos claim now while you can. You have everything to lose and much to possibly gain should you be diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma in the future.

After that December 14 deadline passes, you will no longer be able to file a claim even if you become ill with an asbestos-related illness caused by past exposure at an EFH power plant.

To keep your right to compensation, you must submit an asbestos claim by the December 14 deadline. A qualified asbestos attorney can file the claim for you. He or she can help you with the documentation you will need to verify you or a family member worked at a power plant. At Kazan Law, we do not charge any fee for this service unless and until we get you money.

Asbestos Claims Cut-Off Part of Bankruptcy Deal

Asbestos claims against EFH will be invalid after the December 14, 2015 deadline as part of a bankruptcy deal created for this very large privately owned power plant company, its subsidiaries and the people who financed it.

EFH owns, operates, maintains, and built many power plants across the United States and others all over the world.

Because of the heat-resistant quality of asbestos, asbestos insulation was widely used in power plants built before 1980. But the toxicity of asbestos was already well-established at that time and less dangerous substitutes were available.

Asbestos Claims Potential Prompts Bankruptcy Efforts to Escape Responsibility

Asbestos claims against EFH have already resulted from workers being exposed to asbestos at numerous power plants around the US.

The company declared bankruptcy last spring along with about 70 of its affiliates. The petition listed assets of $36.5 billion and debt totaling $49.7 billion.

Companies which are likely to be liable for many asbestos claims often file for bankruptcy as a way to avoid paying large settlements to people whose lives they have destroyed.

As part of EFH’s bankruptcy, everyone who is currently ill with an asbestos-related illness and everyone who may develop asbestos-related illness must submit a claim by December 14, 2015, at 5 PM, Eastern Time to be eligible for compensation in the future. EFH is required to publish notices about this deadline in newspapers. Although they are also required to directly contact former employees and others, many people who get their news from television or the internet instead of newspapers may miss the deadline for filing asbestos claims.

Why Asbestos Claims Must Be Filed Even If You’re Not Ill

Asbestos claims typically may be filed up to a year after you are diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease. Not in this case. If you already have been diagnosed, you should immediately consult an asbestos attorney about filing a claim. Even if you have not been diagnosed you should file an asbestos claim if you or a family member worked at a power plant.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the EPA have determined that asbestos is a human carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure. An estimated 10,000 Americans die every year from preventable asbestos-caused diseases.

Asbestos fibers can be 700 times smaller than a human hair. Some asbestos can be seen as dust but asbestos fibers can also be invisible to the human eye. You can’t see it. It is also odorless, tasteless and indestructible.

Asbestos fibers do not evaporate into air or dissolve in water. Microscopic asbestos fibers and particles can remain suspended in the air for a long time.

You could easily have inhaled asbestos fibers without knowing it either at work yourself or from the clothing, tools, car or hair of a family member who worked at an EFH site.

Once asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can cause fatal damage to the body’s vital organs and initiate cancer. Mesothelioma, for example, is a lethal cancer of the cells lining the lungs and other organs. It is caused only by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma can emerge anywhere from ten to 50 years after asbestos exposure.

So if you or a family member ever worked at an EFH site, be sure to file a claim before December 14. Have this done professionally by a qualified asbestos attorney, so you can have peace of mind that it was done correctly. Your future may depend on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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