Former NYC Foreman Receives Over $4 Million in Mesothelioma Settlement to Date
Written by Jessica Finkle
Thursday, 02 September 2010 02:38
A lifelong New Yorker who worked for almost 45 years at a Bronx, NY steel and scrap metal company learned many years too late that his exposure to toxic asbestos dusts on scrap materials demolished and processed at the plant would cause him to develop mesothelioma cancer, a life-threatening form of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
Shortly after becoming sick, he and his family made two important decisions regarding his illness. In addition to choosing to have his medical care managed by one of the nation’s top mesothelioma cancer doctors, the man and his family chose Weitz & Luxenberg— the nation’s top mesothelioma lawyers —to help his family fight for justice.
Even though many mesothelioma patients lose their battle with their illness within the first 12-18 months after diagnosis, this New Yorker beat the odds for almost six years before succumbing to the disease.
As part of his mesothelioma lawsuit, the man provided testimony regarding his work history, his secondhand exposure to asbestos, his illness and his future.
Decades of Asbestos Exposure
The man first started work for the steel and scrap metal company in the early 1950s, and was eventually promoted to plant foreman, buyer and eventually was the plant’s manager. He described the plant operations and how asbestos-covered commercial scrap materials would be purchased.
“Material would come in, trailer load of pipe covered with this insulation, which we later got to know was asbestos…we’d remove firebrick and the insulation block inside of the firebrick….the driver or somebody would say when I would ask what is that stuff, he said it’s asbestos spray.”
He also described the dusty conditions at the plant, and the plant’s operation in breaking down and demolishing asbestos-containing scrap materials, all of which caused him to breathe in asbestos-contaminated dusts: “…Every time we smashed material, bounced material, moved material, the dust would be terrible….every time the electromagnet picked up material, you would get a cloud of dust.”
In addition, the man also recalled his duties at three off-site demolition projects where large industrial boilers, scrap metal and other asbestos-containing materials were demolished. All of these job sites caused him to experience asbestos exposure on a daily basis.
Health Problems Begin
Less than one year after the man retired, he began to notice health problems. “I was out walking with my daughter and granddaughter one morning, and I couldn’t keep up with them. And I was running out of breath, short of breath, and that’s when I went to the doctor.”
After seeing his doctor and undergoing a chest x-ray, he was told his that his left lung was “…completely full of fluid.” He underwent a procedure to remove the fluid, and the testing of that fluid revealed that the man had malignant mesothelioma.
At the time of the man’s deposition, he was scheduled to undergo surgery to remove his left lung, and was told he would have to undergo both chemotherapy and radiation treatment after the surgery.
Outlook for the Future
When asked about his prognosis after his scheduled surgery, he stated that his doctors had told him that “…it’s not a cure, but it buys me time” and that his oncologist’s prognosis was for “possibly six years with the treatment followed.”
Prior to becoming sick, the man had a very active lifestyle, and testified that he typically ran three to four miles each day. Since he became sick, he stated he suffered from chronic shortness of breath and tired very easily.
At the time he gave his testimony, the man and his wife were financially dependent on their joint social security pensions and his wife’s small annual pension of $1,600 per year. The man also testified he had retirement funds in his 401(k) plan, but had not yet moved forward with accessing those funds.
During the remaining years of his life and beyond, his financial needs and the financial future for his wife, his two adult daughters and their families have been helped by more than $4.4 million in mesothelioma lawsuit settlements obtained for the family by Weitz & Luxenberg.