Category Archives: Blog

Vanderbilt Minerals LLC Settles Florida Mesothelioma Cancer Lawsuit

A former tile worker and a New York chemical company recently agreed to a settlement to resolve a multimillion dollar mesothelioma cancer lawsuit filed in Florida that claimed the defendant knowingly manufactured and distributed asbestos contaminated talc products. The settlement came almost at the end of a three-week trial as the men and women of the jury began their deliberations over what, if any, compensation the plaintiff should be entitled to for his injuries.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in Polk County Circuit Court, the plaintiff suffered from exposure to asbestos contained in products manufactured by the defendant, Vanderbilt Minerals LLC. The lawsuit claims that the defendant manufactured its ceramics products with talc sourced from mines contaminated with asbestos and that the years of exposure led to the victim’s cancer diagnosis. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that despite knowing about the dangers posed by its asbestos contaminated products, the defendants did nothing to warn users of the risk.

As was expected, the defendants denied responsibility for manufacturing and distributing their asbestos contaminated products, going so far as to blame the plaintiff for his own injuries and suggesting other companies were responsible for the victim’s injuries. In particular, the defense claimed that the plaintiff’s mesothelioma cancer could have developed from the victim’s hobby of working on his car with products known to contain asbestos. While the plaintiff’s attorney acknowledged the other potential sources of asbestos exposure raised by the defendant, any allocation should be minimal as Vanderbilt failed to provide adequate worksite safety training to its employees.

While the terms of the settlement are confidential, the potential compensation could be substantial as the plaintiff’s lawsuit asked the court to award him and his wife $11.55 in damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills. The case is also significant because it is one of the first “industrial talc” injury cases to go to trial in the country. While cosmetic talc cases alleging other forms of cancer have been heard in courts throughout the country, few have been heard involving allegations that companies created industrial products with asbestos contaminated talc.

Talc and asbestos are both naturally occurring minerals and deposits can be found in proximity to one another. Although federal regulations have required talc to be asbestos free for many decades, many claims are just now coming to light due to the latency period of the disease. Often times, it takes anywhere from 20 to 50 years for mesothelioma patients to show symptoms of their disease which can limit their treatment options and make seeing an asbestos cancer lawsuit all the way through more difficult.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

Colorado State Senate to Take Up Asbestos Claims Bill

The Colorado state senate is expected to take up a bill that could potentially have far reaching effects on the rights of mesothelioma cancer victims looking to recover vital compensation to help with their medical treatment and recovery of lost wages. The bill is one of several others passed in state houses across the country under the guise of transparency and expediency, but is really meant to help asbestos companies skirt liability for the harm they have caused.

Introduced by Senate President pro tem Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling, Colorado, Senate Bill 123 is based on model legislation created by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators, a nationwide group of lobbyists funded by insurance companies and defense attorneys. At least 12 states have already passed their version of the Colorado bill and other states with Republican controlled legislatures are expected to try and pass their own.

If passed, Senate Bill 123 would require mesothelioma cancer victims filing lawsuits against solvent entities to disclose whether or not they may have filed any claims with asbestos bankruptcy trusts for the same injuries. Because of the decades-long latency period associated with a mesothelioma diagnosis, many victims must file both civil lawsuits and administrative claims with the asbestos trusts to ensure they hold all negligent parties responsible, whether these entities are still doing business or not.

There are currently almost 60 asbestos bankruptcy trusts created by more than 100 now defunct companies whose products contained asbestos at one point and may be liable for future claims when a victim receives his or her diagnosis. With a combined $25 to $30 billion in all the asbestos bankruptcy trusts, lobbyists for insurance companies often assert that legislation like the one being considered in Colorado is important to ensuring the trusts help as many people as possible.

However, these types of bills are often just another hurdle mesothelioma cancer victims and their attorneys must overcome in order to proceed with litigation with defendants who refuse to take responsibility for creating such deadly products. Sadly, the majority of asbestos cancer plaintiffs pass away within two years of receiving their mesothelioma diagnosis, making time a precious luxury that many cannot afford to waste on ancillary legal proceedings designed to only satisfy the insurance lobby.

With so much on the line, asbestos cancer victims need to make sure they retain an experienced and dedicated mesothelioma lawyer to handle their case and ensure all administrative and civil procedure is followed. Because victims only have one shot at justice, they need to pick the right lawyer for them and their case.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

 If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

 

Indiana General Assembly Debates Bill to End the Rights of Mesothelioma Cancer Victims

A new bill recently introduced in the Indiana General Assembly would impose restrictions so severe on mesothelioma cancer victims that it may restrict any conceivable access to justice for those attempting to hold asbestos companies responsible for their greed and indifference to public safety. The statute of limitations on filing asbestos cancer lawsuits are so egregious that they fly in the face of science and the basic understanding of the latency periods associated with such a devastating disease.

According to the language of House Bill No. 1061, introduced by Republican Representative Matt Lehman of Berne, no individual in the state of Indiana could sue a manufacturer for a medical condition that arises more than 10 years after exposure to a toxic substance. The law also states that a medical diagnosis of an asbestos disease is only valid for the purpose of taking legal action if that diagnosis is made 15 years after the first exposure.

One of the most common and deadly asbestos related diseases is mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer that commonly affects the thin linings of tissues surrounding vital organs like the lungs and abdominal cavity. What makes the law so detrimental to the legal rights of mesothelioma victims is the long latency period between exposure and when a diagnosis actually takes place, usually anywhere from 20 to 50 years.

As a result, mesothelioma victims would be effectively barred from bringing claims because the overwhelming majority of patients would not receive their diagnosis until well after the exposure to asbestos occurs. If passed, Indiana would be the only state in the country that creates a law where there is no exception to the statute of repose for latent or asbestos diseases. The bill is essentially modeled after legislation written by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, both of which lobby for business interests.

Fortunately for Indiana residents, an amendment was attached to the bill as it left the state House for the state Senate that would send the section of the bill that enacts the 10-year statute of repose to another study committee to be looked at urgently. Although that means the 10-year statute of limitations would not take effect immediately after the bill’s passage, the possibility of an extremely restrictive statute of limitations is still a real possibility and may eventually be added at a later date. For now, mesothelioma victims in the state will simply have to watch and wait as their legislature debates the merits of the bill that has a strong chance of passage.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

 If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

 

 

Michael Throneberry Awarded AIOPIA’s 10 Best for Client Satisfaction for Third Straight Year

The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the Top 10 Personal attorneys.  Attorneys who selected to the “10 Best” list must pass AIOPIA’s rigorous selection process, which is based on client nominations, thorough research, and AIOPIA’s independent evaluation.  AIOPIA’s annual list was created to be used as a resource for clients during the attorney selection process.

One of the most significant aspects of the selection process involves attorneys’ relationships and reputation among his or her clients.  As clients should be an attorney’s top priority, AIOPIA places utmost emphasis on selecting lawyers who have achieved significant success in the field of Personal Injury law without sacrificing the service and support they provide.  Selection criteria therefore focus on attorneys who demonstrate the highest standards of Client Satisfaction.

We congratulate Michael Throneberry on this achievement and we are honored to have him as a Three Years AIOPIA Member.

Contact Michael Throneberry directly at either 480-454-6008 or arizonamesotheliomaattorney.com 

 

Deadline Approaches for Libby, Montana Asbestos Victims

Residents of Libby, Montana, the site of one of the country’s most serious asbestos related disasters, face some tough decisions in the next few weeks as the statute of limitations to file asbestos cancer lawsuits against the owner of an infamous vermiculite mine comes to a close. Thousands of town residents have been diagnosed and passed away due to complications from inhaling asbestos-contaminated vermiculite particles and thousands more may meet the same fate. Over 2,000 asbestos cancer lawsuits are pending in state court and the Montana Supreme Court recently created a special judicial department to begin hearing the large backlog of cases.

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding the lungs and abdomen and is directly linked to exposure to asbestos, a flaky white mineral that occurs naturally around other minerals. The latency period for mesothelioma to develop is extremely long and it can be at least 20 to 40 years before victims show any symptoms. Often times, victims are left with limited treatment options as the disease progresses to such a point that tumors spread throughout the body and are inoperable.

Lawsuits began popping up in the mid 1980s as the latency period for mesothelioma to show symptoms began to peak for victims of the mine’s deadly asbestos. Investigations in the late 1990s showed a link between the vermiculite mine and the hundreds of people who were sick and dying because of exposure to asbestos dust. As if by coincidence, W.R. Grace & Co., the mine’s owner, filed for bankruptcy protection in court in 2001, a move that will severely limit its liability for injuries caused by its dangerous vermiculite mine.

Fortunately for the town’s residents, the Montana Supreme Court held that victims could still file lawsuits after learning they developed mesothelioma or another serious health condition as a result of the company’s negligence. However, now that W.R. Grace & Co. is emerging from its bankruptcy protection, victims will only have a few more weeks to file asbestos cancer lawsuits against the company, and any victims who develop after February 25, 2018 may not have actionable claims.

Nervous residents are now pondering whether or not to go ahead and file claims and try to preserve their rights to recover compensation against W.R. Grace in case they develop mesothelioma somewhere down the road. While statutes of limitations like the ones involved in these cases are unfortunate hurdles to justice, victims and their families need to understand these rules and speak to a qualified mesothelioma attorney about their cases as soon as possible to preserve their legal rights.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

 If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

 

Talcum Powder Asbestos Cancer Trial Underway in New Jersey

A second trial against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson over allegations that the company’s talcum powder products caused a plaintiff’s mesothelioma cancer recently began in Middlesex County, New Jersey, superior court. A previous trial over the asbestos cancer allegations in California found for the defendants, but legal experts from around the country will be watching the latest trial closely as it could open the door to more litigation against the company.

 

The trial, which takes place just a few blocks from the world headquarters of Johnson & Johnson, is expected to last two months and will pit medical experts from both sides against each other. The 46-year-old plaintiff intends to prove that Johnson & Johnson knew its talcum powder based products like Baby Powder and Shower to Shower contained carcinogenic asbestos fibers which caused her cancer. The start of the trial was slightly delayed due to an evidentiary hearing in which the judge sided with the plaintiff to exclude certain evidence that the defense attempted to admit too close to the start of the trial.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, commonly affecting thin linings of tissue surrounding the lungs and abdomen, and is directly linked to asbestos, once commonly used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease and victims often incur expensive medical bills and lost wages as they fight the cancer and attempt to live longer, more comfortable lives.

As is typical in asbestos cancer lawsuits, defense attorneys for Johnson & Johnson presented various alternative theories for how and why the victim developed her serious medical condition and why the company should not be held liable. Johnson & Johnson’s attorneys asserted the plaintiff’s condition was caused by the insulation covering the pipes in her childhood home, asbestos inside the insulation at her school’s walls, and just a generally high rate of asbestos exposure in the state of New Jersey.

 Johnson & Johnson also faces thousands of other lawsuits involving its talcum powder products. Plaintiffs across the country accuse the company of knowing these products lead to a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Several trials have produced substantial verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs, some amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars for only one plaintiff.

Other cosmetics companies and their suppliers also face similar lawsuits alleging that their talcum powder products contained asbestos which caused the plaintiffs’ mesothelioma diagnoses. In California, a jury awarded a plaintiff $18 million in punitive damages in her lawsuit against Imerys Talc. The jury in that case determined Imerys knew its talc contained the carcinogenic mineral but chose to continue sourcing the substance to companies.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

 If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

 

 

How Demolition Projects can Release the Hidden Dangers of Asbestos

While use of asbestos in industrial, commercial, and consumer products has been heavily regulated in the United States since the mid 1970s, millions of pounds of the carcinogenic mineral remain trapped in structures still standing to this day. When developers and construction companies renovate or demolish these structures, they can disturb the asbestos inside and create a potentially dangerous situation for both workers and innocent bystanders living nearby.

Sadly, thousands of people are diagnosed with mesothelioma from secondhand exposure to asbestos every year, including situations in which demolition companies create so-called “demolition dust” containing the carcinogen. Although most municipalities have regulations pertaining to the handling and disposal of deadly asbestos, many property owners and construction companies fail to live up to these legal obligations and put innocent people at risk of developing serious health conditions through exposure.

Other times, poor enforcement and oversight by local governments can be to blame for allowing renovators to spew toxic substances like asbestos into the air and put communities at risk. When municipalities fail to put the time, money, and effort into protecting local residents, victims are left to turn to their healthcare providers to deal with the potentially serious health consequences caused by asbestos.

The good news is that even in cities where compliance with asbestos abatement and disposal is essentially voluntary, most parties comply with regulations for the good of their workers and the community. With tried and proven techniques, developers can help ensure that their projects do not cause harm to unsuspecting people who have no idea that they may be at risk for mesothelioma, asbestosis, or other serious health conditions caused by dust and debris from tearing down an old building.

However, not all construction companies are as considerate as others and may end up causing serious harm. In these situations, it may be necessary to file a formal lawsuit against the parties responsible for the asbestos exposure. Because mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer that commonly affects the thin lining of tissue surrounding vital organs, can take decades to show symptoms, it may be difficult to track down the responsible parties.

Fortunately, a seasoned and dedicated mesothelioma cancer lawyer has the experience and resources necessary to help determine all the liable parties in a lawsuit and recover the vital compensation needed to help pay for medical bills and make up for lost wages. While nothing can undo the harm caused by a mesothelioma diagnosis, filing a lawsuit is important not only to help make victims whole again but also to hold wrongdoers accountable for their indifference to public safety.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

Claire’s Stores Pull Asbestos-Contaminated Cosmetics Products off Shelves

Popular cosmetics chain-store Claire’s recently pulled several of its products off shelves when it emerged that those items tested positive for asbestos contamination after a Providence, Rhode Island mother sent makeup out for testing. According to several media reports, tests performed by Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina showed that glitter makeup purchased from Claire’s retail chain came back positive for asbestos.

Further testing on other products showed eye shadows, blushes, and compact powders in nine other states all tested positive for asbestos, a carcinogen mineral known to the Centers for Disease Control to cause Mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer. Claire’s subsequently pulled all those products from its shelves, as well.

“We work closely with our vendors to ensure our products are tested and assessed in line with the relevant country regulations and guidelines,” a Claire’s representative told WPRI-TV. “As a result of today’s inquiry from WPRI-TV, we have taken the precautionary measure of pulling the items in question from sale, and will be conducting an immediate investigation into the alleged issues. Once we have more information and have the results of the investigation we will take the necessary action.”

Most of the products pulled from store shelves tested positive for tremolite asbestos, a form of the mineral which commonly forms around other minerals like vermiculite, chrysotile (itself a type of asbestos) and talc (a common ingredient in many makeup products). One other test sample also came back positive for chrysotile asbestos, which is the most common form of the mineral found in the U.S.

Justice Stores Pull Makeup Over Asbestos Contamination

 Claire’s recall marks the second major cosmetics pull from stores across the country marketing to young girls. In July of 2017, Justice stores pulled its just Shine Shimmer Powder from stores over allegations the product contained asbestos. While the company denied any wrongdoing, it nonetheless removed the products from stores out of what it characterized as an abundance of caution for the health and safety of young customers.

Concerned individuals also sent samples to the Scientific Analytical Institute where technicians discovered not only asbestos but also other deadly chemicals like Barium, Chromium, Lead, and Selenium. Despite the reassurances from companies like Justice and Claire’s, there is simply to acceptable level of asbestos exposure to anyone at any age.

Although asbestos is heavily regulated, exposure still occurs from companies failing to take proper steps to ensure their products do not contain any of the deadly mineral. Women around the country have also alleged that they suffered a mesothelioma diagnosis from asbestos-contaminated talcum powder produced by companies like Johnson & Johnson and Colgate Palmolive.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

 If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

 

Breath Analysis Could Provide Mesothelioma Screening Breakthrough

A recent study published by European researchers indicates that there could be breakthroughs coming for oncologists to help them screen patients for mesothelioma and detect the disease sooner. Better screening techniques and earlier detection could drastically improve the prognosis for mesothelioma cancer victims who would otherwise have limited options if traditional detection techniques were applied.

Research for the study was conducted by Dutch and Belgian universities using a special breathalyzer called eNose that uses gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to screen for malignant pleural mesothelioma. The study examined 64 participants, 16 healthy patients, 19 asymptomatic patients exposed to asbestos in their lives, 15 patients with benign asbestos-related diseases, and 14 with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The science behind the research examined the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contained in a person’s breath. These VOCs reflect the cell’s metabolism and give researchers a snapshot of the patient’s condition. While the results from the breath analysis were not perfect, researchers were pleased to discover that they could detect the presence of mesothelioma in patients with a high degree of certainly.

“Using GC-MS, AEx individuals were discriminated from MPM patients with 97% accuracy, with diethyl ether, limonene, nonanal, methylcyclopentane and cyclohexane as important VOCs. This was validated by eNose analysis. MPM patients were discriminated from AEx+ARD participants by GC-MS and eNose with 94% and 74% accuracy, respectively.”

Early Detection Critical to Improving Patient Care

One drawback from the research is that doctors may be able to tell that a patient has cancer but not specifically which kind. Hopefully, future research will lead scientists down a path that can pinpoint or narrow down a patient’s condition to the point where oncologists can make decisive treatment options and improve the outlook for patients.

The main factor that makes mesothelioma so difficult to treat is the time between exposure and diagnosis, a period of time that is often decades long and can make pinpointing the cause of health problems difficult for many patients. Like other cancers, early detection of mesothelioma gives patients many more treatment options and can have tremendous impact on how long patients can live with the disease.

Unfortunately, most patients do not receive their diagnosis until the cancer has spread beyond the point where surgery is an option and most doctors recommend chemotherapy or radiation therapy to try and slow tumor growth. While there is still no definitive cure for mesothelioma, which commonly affects thin linings of tissue surrounding the lungs and abdomen, researchers around the world continue to press forward on research that may one day hold the key to defeating the disease once and for all.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

 If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

 

 

Montana Supreme Court Creates Special Court for Asbestos Cancer Lawsuits

After 16 years, the Montana Supreme Court has finally activated its special administrative court to hear asbestos cancer lawsuits related to the Libby vermiculite mine and claims against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, the state of Montana, International Paper, and several insurance companies. Sadly, in the time between the legislature authorizing the creation of the court, an estimated 200-claimants have passed away from their debilitating medical conditions.

The Montana State Legislature passed the Asbestos Claims Court Act in 2001 to hear cases related to the vermiculite mine owned and operated by W.R. Grace & Co. regarding allegations that the company poisoned hundreds of area residents through asbestos exposure. W.R. Grace declared bankruptcy soon after the claims began to pour in against it, and its bankruptcy proceedings were only finalized in 2015.

The State Supreme Court’s order applies to 548 individual cases against the slate of defendants, which up until now had languished in the lower district courts, much to the detriment of those seeking justice. In addition to the named cases, the Montana Supreme Court’s order notes that other claims could be heard in the specialized asbestos lawsuit court.

By consolidating the cases into one court, parties may be able to conduct common discovery just as class actions and multi-district litigation (MDL) do when hundreds or even thousands of plaintiffs are involved. The backlog is partially due to the nature of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer that can take decades to show symptoms.

Because so many people were exposed at one time and the illness takes so long to develop, the result was hundreds of clients all filing claims against common defendants who would rather deny, delay, and defend otherwise meritorious lawsuits. Despite knowing full well that plaintiffs suffer, insurance companies and big corporations are perfectly content to stave off litigation and force courts to hear cases one at a time.

Sadly, cases against large corporations like W.R. Grace and the circumstances that follow are an all too common occurrence in our legal system. Despite knowing full well about the dangers their asbestos contaminated products posed to workers and ordinary people, these big corporations chose to conduct business as usual without taking necessary safety precautions or even warning innocent victims about the dangers of asbestos.

Fortunately, the legal system does allow asbestos cancer victims to bring legal action against the asbestos companies responsible for their mesothelioma diagnosis and recover for their damages. Asbestos cancer lawsuits can help recover lost wages, medical bills, and compensation for the pain and suffering of living with a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer

 If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.