On Sept. 21, a Boston jury returned a verdict of $7.55 million against a Massachusetts insulation company after a former employee and power plant worker developed Mesothelioma. The law firm of Waters Kraus & Paul in partnership with Thornton Law Firm were responsible for helping the ex-employee win the highest amount ever awarded in an asbestos trial in New England.
Two weeks later, on Oct. 4, the same law firms argued in, and won, a $6.8 million case against the same company. In this situation, however, the former employee passed away from mesothelioma in 2013, thus his family pursued the case on his behalf.
These verdicts show that, even if companies avoid fines from OSHA, they still may have to answer for their actions in civil court — and the payouts may be substantial.
“The jury recognized the devastation this disease creates for families of workers exposed to hazardous materials,” Thornton Law Firm’s Andrew Wainwright said. “Had [the company] shared the knowledge they had of the dangers of asbestos with men working near them and with their products, this all could have been avoided.”
Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure
Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related cancer. Asbestos is a harmful chemical that can be found in materials such as insulation, and people may breathe it in as dust particles in the air. The aforementioned Massachusetts insulation company sold, distributed, and installed insulation until the 1970s. The jury in the second case found that the company knowingly sold asbestos-containing products, and did not disclose the dangers to workers.
Peter Kraus, of Waters Kraus & Paul, stated that the verdict showed that “a strong case with clear exposure and liability evidence can extend the scope of responsibility to all sellers who knowingly provide harmful products to unsuspecting consumers.”
OSHA Asbestos Standard
OSHA standard 1910.1001 requires employers to institute a medical surveillance program for all employees exposed to airborne concentrations of asbestos at, or above, the permissible exposure limit. Companies such as Worksite Medical go directly to job sites with licensed technicians who perform medical tests in compliance with the OSHA standards, including chest x-rays and asbestos physicals.
Other tests include respirator fit testing, audiometric testing, heavy metal lab screening, and more. Click HERE for a full list of services. Learn more about Worksite Medical, or give us a call at 1-800-OCCUMED to schedule your mobile medical unit today.