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Asbestos Remains Legal in US Despite Fatal Illnesses

The San Antonio Express-News reports that Stephanie Harper of Bonham, TX “was a daddy’s girl” and when her father “would come home from work – he was a handyman, a jack of all trades, doing auto mechanics, heating and cooling, anything – she’d grab him and hug him as hard as she could. ‘I’d sit on his feet and grab his pants legs,’ she remembers.” As far as she can tell, “that’s how she picked up the asbestos fibers that worked their way from her lungs to the lining of her chest.” The fibers “that caused the tumor that doctors found when she had her tubes tied at 22, after her daughter was born.” Harper has mesothelioma, “a cancer that is 100 percent preventable and 100 percent attributable to exposure to asbestos.” The Express-News notes that “it remains legal to import, manufacture and sell asbestos and products containing it,” and “asbestos-containing material known to be carcinogenic remains in millions of U.S. homes.” Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) “have fought to pass a ban on asbestos,” and in 2007, “they came agonizingly close,” as the Ban Asbestos in America Act “passed the Senate unanimously,” but “the bill was watered down in committee rewriting,” and “a one-word change – from asbestos-containing ‘product’ to asbestos-containing ‘material’ – gutted the proposed ban.”

Testimony could reopen thousands of asbestos cases. The American Lawyer reports that Cahill Gordon & Reindel’s “asbestos problem began on June 15, 2009, when David Swanson, a 73-year-old retired chemical engineer, walked into the offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth in the seaside town of Red Bank, N.J.” Swanson “had worked for 37 years as a research engineer at New Jersey-based Engelhard Corporation and predecessor companies, retiring in 1996” and his daughter, Donna Paduano, “was suing his former employer, and Swanson was about to be deposed for the first time in his life.” Paduano had mesothelioma, and Paduano “claimed that her father was exposed to asbestos on the job, and that she came into contact with it from his work clothes and from her visits to his laboratory.” By the time “Paduano filed her suit in 2009, Engelhard no longer existed, having been acquired in 2006 by the giant German chemical company BASF SE,” so her attorney, Christopher Placitella, “sued one of BASF’s U.S.-based divisions, BASF Catalysts LLC.” Swanson testified that Engelhard “knew that there was asbestos in its talc, and had sought to destroy that evidence,” although Engelhard, BASF and Cahill “had maintained in thousands of asbestos cases that the company’s talc was asbestos-free.” BASF now “faces the prospect of having to defend itself in thousands of closed asbestos suits that could be reopened.”From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

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The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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