Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma, one of the deadliest and rarest types of cancer, is almost always connected to exposure to asbestos in the workplace. Known as malignant mesothelioma, the cancer is the most life-threatening of all diseases and maladies related to asbestos, and it typically carries a poor prognosis following diagnosis.
The symptoms of the disease are troubling, as they often imitate the signs of minor illnesses that are otherwise non-threatening. This helps mask the severity of the cancer, often resulting in a late diagnosis. Unfortunately, the underlying disease advances quickly – leaving little room for effective treatment. Despite the approximately 2,000 to 3,000 people diagnosed with mesothelioma in America annually, many more people are living with the disease without knowing it.
Dangers of Asbestos
Many industries in South Carolina pose a risk to workers due to asbestos exposure, particularly those who have worked in mining, textile, power generation, construction, auto repair, ship repair, and shipbuilding.
Exposure to asbestos have sickened and killed workers both in South Carolina and across the United States. Reports show that between 1980 and 2000—when the use of asbestos was regulated by the FDA—a total of 634 fatalities in South Carolina were linked directly to asbestos exposure. Though the use of asbestos has reduced greatly since then, the number of fatalities from job-related exposure to asbestos continues to increase. In fact, South Carolina ranks 21st in the entire country or asbestos-related fatalities.
Historically, many corporations chose to look the other way when medical reports dating as far back as the 1930’s confirmed the association between the industrial use of asbestos and an incurable, deadly disease of the lungs. Instead, companies selling asbestos and asbestos products blatantly disregarded the warnings in an attempt to attain greater revenue – effectively placing a higher priority on their bottom lines over the well being of workers and their families. We understand mesothelioma and its effects, and believe that no one should ever have to endure such a preventable disease. That’s why we are committed to helping bring negligent companies to justice for their recklessness – not only for the individuals already suffering the effects of asbestos, but also to avert such misfortune in the future.
Studies have proven that occupational exposure to asbestos fibers has effects on the body, particularly the lungs and the digestive system. Thousands of workers who once faced exposure to asbestos on a daily basis are now left to deal with deadly diagnoses many decades later.
Mesothelioma, one of the rarest and deadliest forms of cancer, is almost always associated with asbestos exposure in the workplace. Known as malignant mesothelioma, this cancer is the most life-threatening of all illnesses and diseases related to asbestos.
Roughly 2,000 to 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year, with many more living with the disease without being aware of it. The lack of evident signs masks the severity of the cancer, often resulting in a late diagnosis as it may take victims as much time as 50 years to detect the disease. Unfortunately, the underlying disease advances quickly—leaving an individual little time to obtain effective treatment.
Though nothing can atone for the pain and suffering that asbestos exposure and malignant mesothelioma can cause, victims of the disease and their loved ones deserve to be compensated for the danger they were exposed to and the condition they developed.
Compensation for Asbestos Exposure
If you are suffering the fatal effects of prolonged asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to some or all of these damages from the liable parties:
In some instances, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the company accountable for the asbestos exposure.
Kassel McVey Asbestos Verdicts:
The Polyester Fiber Manufacturing Case
Dennis Seay, a maintenance worker, developed cancer as a result of being exposed to asbestos while working at the Celanese plant in Spartanburg, SC, in the 1970’s.
Seay passed away in 2014, a little more than a year after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and particularly aggressive form of cancer that is linked almost exclusively to exposure to asbestos. From 1971 to 1980, Seay had been employed by Daniel Construction Co. to perform maintenance work at a polyester fiber manufacturing plant owned by Celanese, a specialty materials company headquartered in Texas.
The Seay family was represented by Theile McVey of the Kassel McVey firm and Chris Panatier and Kevin Paul of Simon Greenstone Panatier & Bartlett. Dennis Seay worked hard every day maintaining pipes, pumps and valves at the Celanese plant. During the 1970’s, the pipes were insulated with asbestos. The pumps and valves contained asbestos gaskets and packing and were also insulated with asbestos.
In order to perform the maintenance work, the asbestos insulation, gaskets and packing had to be removed, all of which exposed Mr. Seay to an enormous amount of asbestos. At the time Seay was working at the plant, Celanese had unusually extensive knowledge about the effects of asbestos, but failed to provide warnings about those known dangers to workers or contractors.
The company’s medical director had attended a landmark conference hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences in 1964 about the product’s dangers. Numerous documents showed an intention by Celanese to conceal from workers and contractors how much asbestos they were being exposed to and what that exposure meant to the health of the workers.
After a nine-day trial, the jury deliberated for about two and a half hours before finding Celanese liable and returning a verdict of $12 million in actual damages. After another brief deliberation, the jury assessed Celanese an additional $2 million in punitive damages. The jury also returned a defense verdict in favor of another defendant, John Crane Inc., which manufactured asbestos-containing gaskets used at the plant.
As a result of his mesothelioma, Seay suffered extensively. His lungs collapsed 10 times and he underwent several surgeries and endured chemotherapy before passing away from a combination of blood constriction, wasting and suffocation.
Seay was survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, three children and many grandchildren. After the jury came back with the $12 million actual damage verdict, prior to the punitive damage phase, Celanese, through their lawyers, apologized. Despite that apology, Celanese has appealed the verdict.
The Industrial Pump and Valve Case
Lloyd Garvin was 74 years old when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He was a former millwright and maintenance man who had worked for decades with asbestos-containing products in chemical and plastics plants, and subsequently developed a rare and fatal form of cancer.
As part of his job, he dismantled industrial pumps and valves, which required him to handle corroded gaskets and packing materials made of asbestos. His exposure to asbestos particles over a period from the 1960’s through 2000 led to him being diagnosed with testicular mesothelioma.
A corroded gasket, similar to ones our client worked on throughout his career. These gaskets were made up of 75 to 85 percent asbestos materials, which flaked into cancer-causing dust particles that could be inhaled.
The case went to verdict against three defendants: Crane Co, Byron Jackson and Durco. During the trial, we argued the defendants had long known that their valves and pumps contained hazardous asbestos materials, yet they took no steps to make their products safer. None of the companies issued warnings to our client or other workers about the dangers of the asbestos in their products. As a result, Mr. Garvin did not know he needed to protect himself while working with these valves and pumps.
The jury in the case awarded our client a total of $37 million in actual and punitive damages. They also gave his wife $1 million for her loss of consortium claim.
Contact Kassel McVey Today
We at Kassel McVey understand mesothelioma and its effects, and firmly believe that no one should ever have to endure such a preventable disease. If you or anyone in your family has been recently diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related illness, legal services are available to help you navigate asbestos laws in the state. Contact an experienced South Carolina mesothelioma attorney from Kassel McVey as soon as possible to seek compensation for your suffering.
We are fully committed to bringing negligent companies to justice for their recklessness and negligence—and not just for the individuals already suffering the effects of asbestos, but also to prevent further misfortune from happening in the future. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of workers, and we are committed to protecting you. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call Kassel McVey today at 803.256.4242.
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1330 Laurel Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
Post Office Box 1476
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Phone: (803) 256-4242
Toll Free: (855) 256-4242
Fax: (803) 256-1952
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