Asbestos

  • Asbestos Medical Record Review & Outsourcing Services

Asbestos is a combination of six silicate minerals which existed since 4,000 years in silent form until manufacturers and builders discovered its unique properties and started using it as electrical insulation and building insulation. The asbestos usage has shown an undaunted increase ever since.

Who is at risk?

Primary Exposure: Unlimited and heavy exposure to Asbestos by workers and laborers involved in the construction industry, repairs of ships, specifically during the removal of asbestos materials while renovation, repairs, or demolition face higher risks. Also, workers involved in the manufacturing of asbestos products such as textiles, friction products, insulation, other building materials, automotive brake and clutch repair work who inhaled and ingested Asbestos, unknowingly or knowingly, are/were at risk.

Secondary exposure: Family members indirectly exposed to asbestos fibers carried along with the clothes, hair, and skin of their near ones carry equal chances of being affected.

The following symptoms help detect asbestos-related diseases:

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness

  • A persistent cough that gets worse over time

  • Blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up from the lungs

  • Pain or tightening in the chest

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Swelling of the neck or face

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Fatigue or anemia

Cancers caused by asbestos exposure:

Mesothelioma: A rare and incurable cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs or abdomen.

Lung Cancer: Approximately 4% of all lung cancer cases are Asbestos-related.

Ovarian Cancer: The International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that asbestos causes ovarian cancer in 2012.

Laryngeal Cancer: The National Institutes of Health confirmed that asbestos causes laryngeal cancer in 2006.

Serious Alleged Injuries may include:

  • Mesothelioma [Pleural Mesothelioma/ Peritoneal Mesothelioma/ Pericardial Mesothelioma]: a very rare and aggressive cancer which affects the lining of the Lungs, Heart and Abdomen called as Mesothelium
  • Asbestosis: a long-term inflammation and scarring of the lungs due to breathing in asbestos fibers. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, and chest pain. Complications may include lung cancer, mesothelioma, and pulmonary heart disease
  • Pleural Effusion: when excess fluid accumulates in the pleural cavity (the fluid-filled space surrounding the lungs) and impairs breathing by limiting the expansion of the lungs
  • Pleural Plaque: akin to scars on the lungs, caused by collagen deposits on the thin membrane that covers the lungs, also known as the pleura
  • Asbestos Warts
  • Pneumothorax: a collection of free air in the chest cavity (thoracic cavity) that causes the lungs to collapse

FDA Safety Warnings:

Asbestos is one of the main ingredients in baby powder,  considered cosmetic when used in makeup and body powders, which require very little federal oversight. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting consumers about certain cosmetic products due to the presence of asbestos.

In spite of several studies highlighting the cancer risk, the FDA does not require Baby Powder warnings on talc-based product labels to be updated. Moreover, J&J has also refused to add one, willingly.

FDA has confirmed that Popular makeup products Claire’s contain Asbestos. Claire’s has been known for creating, the store first came under fire in 2017 when FDA confirmed the presence of the toxin in three Claire’s products, as well as several products from Justice, another tween and children’s store.

Legal Updates:

Defendants:

  • Johnson & Johnson

  • Imerys Talc America Inc.

  • Colgate Palmolive

Defendant Law Firm:  

Johnson & Johnson: Alexander Calfo of King & Spalding LLP , Kimberly Branscome and Benjamin Sadun of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Imerys Talc America Inc.: Mark D. Collins, Michael J. Merchant, Marcos A. Ramos and Amanda R. Steele of Richards Layton & Finger PA.

Jeffrey E. Bjork, Kimberly A. Posin, Amy Quartarolo and Richard A. Levy of Latham & Watkins LLP.

Angela R. Elbert and Jason A. Frye of Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP.

Allegations: Allegations include that the company knew about the risks of asbestos exposure from the company’s talc-based products causes ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, yet failed to warn the public. Lawsuits also claim J&J hid the fact that talcum powder contains asbestos.

Plaintiff Steering Committee:

  • Peter Angelos, Esq., The Law Offices of Peter Angelos, P.C.

  • Janet Ward Black, Esq., Ward Black Law

  • Roger Lane, Esq., Foley & Lardner LLP 

  • John Cooney, Esq., Cooney & Conway

  • Steven Kazan, Esq., Kazan, McClain, Abrams, Lyons, Greenwood & Harley, PLC

  • Peter Kraus, Esq., Waters & Kraus

  • Joseph Rice, Esq., Motley Rice

  • Russell Budd, Esq., Baron & Budd

  • Michael Thornton, Esq., Thornton & Naumes

Lawsuit Status:

In the U.S., the earliest known asbestos-related lawsuit was filed by Anna Pirskowski in 1929 in the Newark (NJ) Federal Court. Along with her, at least 15 other individuals with asbestos-related claims were trying to get compensation. Unfortunately, Pirskowski’s lawsuit was thrown out in 1934, but it brought forth the wave of many such lawsuits. One of the biggest companies targeted by these lawsuits was Johns-Manville Corporation, which filed for bankruptcy in 1982.

Asbestos MDL No. 875 was created in 1991 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and is one of the largest and longest-lasting MDL. Till 2011, over 121,000 cases were transferred to this MDL, of which over 108,000 cases were settled, dismissed, or remanded and around 13,000 are still pending.

Status Of MDL: Active and on appeal 

Important Verdicts & Settlements:

May 2019: A North Carolina jury awarded the estate of an erstwhile worker $32.7 million, considered to be one of the state’s largest mesothelioma verdicts.

January 29, 2019: Arkansas federal jury awarded more than $18 million in a lawsuit brought by the family of a mechanic, Ronald Burlie Thomas, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure from automotive brakes, holding Honeywell and Ford Motor Co. responsible for the man's fatal condition.

November 13, 2018: A California jury awarded $30.2 million to a former construction worker who was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused due to asbestos exposure.

October 2018: A Massachusetts state court jury awarded $ 43.1 million to the family of the late Louis Summerlin, a former brake worker, to be paid by R.J. Reynolds.

Evidence:

  • Identification of exposure to Asbestos to confirm whether it is a Firsthand or Secondhand type.
  • Identification details of exposure to Asbestos as Source, Route, Duration, Frequency and Quantity
  • Indications for Mesothelioma related symptoms like unexplained weight loss, painful coughing, lumps under the skin of chest and abdomen, dyspnea in Medical Records
  • Verifying the diagnosis of Mesothelioma, specific Stage and Specific Type of Mesothelioma through available reports like CT scan, Biopsy, and MRI reports
  • Identification of severity and complexity conditions like metastasis, breathing difficulty, swallowing difficulty, Ascites, Pleural effusion in Medical Records

Medical Record Review and claim validation of Asbestos case should take approximately 3 hours in most instances; however, this approximation may vary in cases based on the volume of records.

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