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Landmark Cases That Changed What We Call the Asbestos Law Today


Asbestos was once a “Miracle Mineral” with all the desired properties of a perfect industrial metal. It was massively used in the construction industry, earning the pioneering industrialists thousands in returns. In fact, it is believed that this compound has been used since archaic antiquity when no one knew – and cared to know – its hazardous effects.

The much-awaited Relief

However, the plot suddenly took an entirely different twist in 1930 all thanks to the publication of the Merewether and Price Report. Even though it was crystal clear that asbestos fibers had fatal consequences in the body, half-hearted employers heard none of that. They advanced their usage of the compound, adamant and unshaken by the revelations.

The history of asbestos is full of cover-ups, with earlier employers silencing wise workers with hefty compensatory perks behind the privy eye of the public. Debates initiated by the affected seeking justice and the Human Rights groups would then take over the mainstream. Consequently, from the 1970s, tons of lawsuits were filed all over the world, ushering in a wholly new era.

Finally, relief arrived in different forms. The asbestos law was enacted, victims were compensated, and the use of asbestos in some products was banned outright. Ever since this law came into existence, multiple firms have plunged into bankruptcy owing to the hefty fines and compensations offered to those suffering due to asbestos exposure.

As expected, there have been shocking tales surrounding asbestos-related cases. While they are too many to mention, you can have a review of the notable ones alone from all over the globe.

Union Carbide

Although he eventually succumbed to mesothelioma in 2007, David Bakkie – a Sacramento native – filed a lawsuit against Union Carbide in 2006 and won $18.5 million in compensation. He won such a hefty amount after successfully proving an on-the-job asbestos exposure that led to asbestos cancer.

Union Carbide again suffered a heavy blow in 2012 when a Los Angeles court jury awarded the family of Bobbie Izell $48 million as compensation. He worked as a contractor, thus developed mesothelioma while running his errands in the 1960s and 1970s. From the two cases, many learnt that getting compensated is real.

The Turner & Newall (T&N)

In the UK, this company was arguably the largest dealer of asbestos, and was expectedly rich and famous. Paying the rising compensatory expenses proved quite a task in 2001 when its US-based parent company was plagued with unending claims. To stay firm amid the wave, they set up a Trust to halt all claims and prevent new ones while dishing out the compensations.

Travelers Insurance

This is possibly the most infamous case. Although the lawsuit dragged on for years, history books were written when Travelers Insurance was ordered to pay $500 million. The compensation was to be channeled to the former John Mansville employees, making it the most expensive asbestos lawsuit in history. CSR This is arguably the greatest expensive failure in mining asbestos in the world. An Australian firm undertook to mine blue asbestos, but eventually ended up in compensating the many employees involved. The same company was still involved in multiple lawsuits later.

From the cases, more asbestos-exposed people were willing to come out and fight for compensation. Additionally, many firms sought injunctions to prevent lawsuits, instead setting up Trust Funds for the affected. Law firms specifically dealing in this niche also began to mushroom. In the end, the whole platform underwent a comprehensive revamp that has helped shape the field of asbestos law and asbestos attorneys today.

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