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Couple Awarded $10 Million for Faulty Asbestos Pipe

A California couple has been awarded $10 million in an asbestos case against a major manufacturer of building materials. The worker says that he was exposed to asbestos while working with Asbestos Cement (AC) pipe manufactured by the company. He claimed that the manufacturer knew of the risks of handling and working with its products, but intentionally concealed the risks from workers. The worker also claimed that the pipe he worked with was defective and fraudulently misrepresented as a “non-harmful use of asbestos pipe.” The jury agreed and handed down one of the largest verdicts of its kind in California history.

The plaintiff in the case was employed in the plumbing industry in the 1970s. He worked for a plumbing company and an engineering firm where his job was to cut and bevel AC pipe made by the defendant at construction sites throughout California. Cutting through the pipe with hand tools and a saw created an extremely dusty working environment where the plaintiff unknowingly breathed asbestos dust daily. He says he was never warned of the dangers of coming in contact with asbestos.

In May 2016, the plaintiff, age 65, was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. He and his wife had been married for 46 years.

About Mesothelioma

The tissue that lines your lungs, heart, stomach, and other organs is called mesothelium. Mesothelioma is a tumor of that tissue. It often starts in the lining of the lung (pleura), but can also start in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum) or other organs, such as the heart (pericardium) or testes (tunica vaginalis). Per the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “it can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).”

Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos.  In many cases, asbestos exposure occurs at work, where those working with building materials, pipe, automotive parts, and other materials can inhale asbestos particles. It can take as few as 10 years for the disease to develop, up to 40 years or more. Symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain under the rib cage
  • Pain, swelling, or lumps in the abdomen
  • Weight loss for no known reason

Per NCI—NIH, “sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer.” Your doctor will use diagnostic tools such as imaging tests, blood tests, and biopsies to make a diagnosis. Malignant mesothelioma is often found when it is advanced, which makes it more difficult to treat. Treatment may include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy.

If you have exposed to asbestos at any point in your life, see your doctor right away—whether you have symptoms or not.

 

Sources

"Mesothelioma." MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), 26 Feb. 2017. Web. 05 May 2017.

"$10 Million Mesothelioma Verdict Awarded for Defective Asbestos Cement Pipe." K5-Hawaii, Health News. HITV Operating Company, Inc., 2017. Web. 05 May 2017.