A proposed class action lawsuit was recently filed in a California court accusing the San Diego Fire Department of exposing hundreds of firefighters and other fire department employees to asbestos at the city’s training facility. This is the first legal action to accuse the city of endangering workers’ health at the Fire Academy since local news outlets began investigating the issues with asbestos at the facility in February.
The 28-page complaint alleges that the city committed negligence when it exposed more than 500 current and former employees to toxic asbestos fibers contained in building materials inside a downtown San Diego office building. Part of the complaint reads, “Shortly after construction began, city employees began to experience the effects of various air quality problems with the building’s construction, including a dramatic decline in air quality and widespread dust throughout their work areas.”
The asbestos exposure lawsuit goes on to claim that employees suffered from “serious, genuine and reasonable fear of toxin-related cancer and associated respiratory conditions,” including fits of coughing, burning throats, and lung issues. Furthermore, the city would not move its training to another location for fear of suffering financial repercussions from breaking the lease with the facility’s owners but only did so after the an Diego’s Air Pollution Control District inspected the building and found measurable amounts of asbestos.
However, some of the employees who suffered asbestos exposure at the downtown facility were relocated to another facility plagued by the same types of conditions. Most of those were with San Diego Fire-Rescue and were moved to San Diego’s Fire Academy Building 89, located in the old Naval Training Center (NTC). Media reports indicate this facility too was known to have a history of asbestos issues, but the city allowed the firefighters to work at the facility nonetheless.
Currently, the asbestos exposure lawsuit has 20 named employees but seeks class action status to allow up to potentially 550 other current and former workers to join the claim and seek compensation for their own damages. The asbestos exposure lawsuit seeks punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, lifetime medical insurance for the workers and regular monitoring to determine whether they contracted cancer as a result of the asbestos exposure.
One of the most serious health conditions associated with asbestos exposure is developing a rare and deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma. The disease commonly affects the thin lining of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the lungs, abdomen, and heart. While researchers continue to make progress in treating the disease, there is currently no known cure for mesothelioma and remission periods are often brief.
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.