Mesothelioma Cancer Afflicts Former Electrical Contractor

Written by Jessica Finkle
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 21:13

 More than 50 years after a young man emigrated from his native Italy to work as an electrical contractor in New York—and later in Florida—the man tragically discovered his secondary exposure to asbestos caused him to develop mesothelioma cancer, a life-threatening form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

While the majority of mesothelioma cancer patients succumb to the effects of their illness within the first 12-18 months following their diagnosis, this brave man has battled his illness for more than six years.

When the man first became ill, he and his family sought information and help in their fight for justice against the companies responsible for his exposure to the cancer-causing mineral. Their search led to Weitz & Luxenberg, a New York City law firm that has fought for thousands of men and women stricken by asbestos-related diseases. In the time since his diagnosis, his mesothelioma attorneys have helped this man and his family by securing more than $4 million in mesothelioma lawsuit settlement proceeds.

As part of the man’s lawsuit, the man gave deposition testimony where he related his first years after arriving in the United States, his work as an electrical contractor in New York and Florida, and his eventual diagnosis with mesothelioma.

The man testified that as a teenager, he attended an Italian vocational high school and studied to become an electrical contractor. After immigrating to the New York area in the mid 1950s, he lived with extended family members in Brooklyn and took a series of electrical maintenance jobs for his family and also took work “winding electrical motors” for two different companies in the Brooklyn area.

He eventually started his own company, and by the mid-1960s, had secured his electrical contractors’ license. He testified that his company did “mainly commercial jobs,” and that his company “did jobs where we did the wiring for elevators, boilers, hot water heaters…whatever the building required.”

Sadly, the man testified that he did not realize these jobs would cause him to be exposed to asbestos on an almost daily basis: “…knowing what I know now, some electrical work with boilers, hot water heaters in the basements….there was a lot of asbestos.”

He also testified that as his business grew, his work became more supervisory. However, he still visited his job sites on a daily basis, where he faced almost constant exposure to asbestos dusts: “…[w]e got there and worked around those boilers, and the basements are full of asbestos with insulation all over the steam lines, and as I said, I would go from job to job to job and so I would go to six jobs in one day, and I would have six hours in a boiler room.”

He also recalled that his supervisory work at job sites would routinely cause him to be exposed to “asbestos flying all over the place” and that he would see workers in other trades working with asbestos cement, particularly when these workers would open the bags of asbestos-containing cement: “I would see this cloud of smoke going up in the air, and I’m breathing it in like an imbecile, not knowing what the implication was.”

Signs of Illness and Diagnosis with Mesothelioma


The man recalled that he first realized he hadn’t been feeling well: “I was out of shape, and I was wrong…I had no symptoms of anything, you know, except that I was out of breath, but I didn’t know.”

He soon sought treatment from a doctor, who ordered chest x-rays that revealed his left lung was full of fluid. He then underwent a procedure to drain the fluid, and then had a number of other tests, including a biopsy and CAT scan. These tests confirmed a diagnosis of Stage III malignant mesothelioma.

How Could This Happen to Me?


The man also gave testimony about how he came to learn about the hazards associated with asbestos exposure: Well, I know that it was asbestos the same way I know that this is paper. We take it for granted that this is paper, and in my industry, asbestos, what I saw at face value, was asbestos.”

He expressed frustration about his diagnosis: ““For about nine days…I was a super-duper healthy human being until the biopsy result came in and then they said: You’ve got cancer, the worst money can buy.”

He also expressed his anger regarding his diagnosis and his prognosis: “I’m mad. I’d like to see you if somebody come knocking on your door and tell you that your time is up, and I’m thinking: How could this happen to me?”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 October 2010 21:34

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