Weitz & Luxenberg obtains large settlement for New York City lumberyard salesman with job-related mesothelioma

News Update

February 2, 2010 – Weitz & Luxenberg’s mesothelioma lawyers last month secured $661,745 for a 74-year-old retired lumberyard salesman from Bayside,Queens, diagnosed with mesothelioma. His cancer was caused by the asbestos-based carpentry products and hazardous work conditions he endured for 30 years.

Mesothelioma kills some 3,000 people every year in the United States. It is a work-related disease primarily caused by regular inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers inside closed work environments, like a lumberyard mill.

When our client began working at the mill in the 1960s, lumberyards were dangerous dusty environments made more hazardous by the sawing, cutting, and handling of asbestos-containing products such as: vermiculite attic insulation, sheetrock, sheetrock tape, cement board, joint compound, and fireproof doors caulked with asbestos.

“When I first started to work in the lumberyard we had some vermiculite up there. I might be upstairs on the second floor and throw it down to the first floor. Or I might throw it to someone who would catch it,” our client said during deposition.

The lumberyard sold fire doors to contractors who did a lot of work with movie theaters, he said. “Sometimes I’d have to take those fire doors down to the mill, and they were pretty heavy.  So, I’d help the fellows cut them to custom sizes. Well, when you cut those doors you could see it. I mean, you could see the white asbestos flying out of there. And then you had to channel it out and repack them.”

Asked to calculate the number of fire doors he helped customize, he replied, “Over a 30-year period? A lot.

Did he believe he was exposed to asbestos from the sheetrock the yard sold, he replied, “Yes. We sold thousands and thousands of sheets. They used to load it into the bins. And we’d push that stuff in. And sometimes I would clean that up, sweep up that area. There were broken and busted pieces of sheetrock many times.”

Workers diagnosed with mesothelioma rarely survive more than two years, leaving their family’s finances in jeopardy. Our client’s 30-year devotion to his job was rewarded with a fatal cancer that could have been prevented had the manufacturers of asbestos-based building products been more forthright with the American public.

When the lumbermill closed on October 31, 1996, our client still had no sense of the danger he was in, testifying proudly that he volunteered to personally sweep out the mill one week after the factory closed.

“The company closed down that day,” he told our lawyers.  “I worked there a week after that.  I took that whole mill downstairs, there was no one around, and I cleaned the whole place up and the dust and everything.  It was spotless. And they sold the business.  So, I was there for a week after that, but my retirement was actually October 31.”

The truth about asbestos

Despite the fatal health consequences associated with asbestos exposure, asbestos is still imported and used in the United States in construction and automotive parts. The United States imported an estimated 1,820 tons of asbestos in 2007, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Weitz & Luxenberg has protected the legal rights of workers for two decades – longer than most law firms in the nation. And in that time the firm’s mesothelioma lawyers have won several billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and seek FREE legal guidance and answers to your concerns, please notify us through the communication form below. We will pursue your claim with vigilance to help you pay for medical bills, future and past lost wages, and damages. There is no cost to you until we obtain a settlement or verdict in your favor.

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