Asbestos Exposure Caused Mesothelioma Death of Forklift Operator, Baltimore Jury Rules | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

The family of a forklift operator who spent several years hauling bags of asbestos at a Baltimore, Maryland (MD), National Gypsum warehouse has received a $1.2 million verdict against the maker of the asbestos following the man’s death from mesothelioma. A jury ruled on November 23, 2010, that Union Carbide must pay the award because the building materials company the man had worked for is bankrupt and because Union Carbide had the highest duty to warn users about the dangers of asbestos dust.

Norfolk Southern, N & W, CSX, Conrail, and Amtrak workers such as conductors, engineers and switchmen regularly rode in steam or diesel engines which insulated with asbestos, and carmen and other workers were exposed to asbestos equipment and insulating materials on the job, as well. We have helped such workers or their surviving family members obtain full and fair compensation for cancers, disease or wrongful deaths caused by asbestos and other toxic occupional substances or chemicals.

Asbestos is practically the only cause of mesothelioma, and it was widely used as insulation, a fire retardant and a friction reducer in buildings, car parts such as brake pads and components of ships and trains. The small particles of asbestos people breath in never leave the body, meaning the cancer or lung disease such as asbestosis they can cause may not show up for decades after exposure.

Attorneys from the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos won their plaintiff’s case against Union Carbide by showing that the asbestos manufacturer failed to warn the workers who handled the material about the deadly risks of asbestos dust. A “Caution” label on each bag of asbestos was ruled insufficient to convince people to wear protective equipment such as respirators to avoid breathing in dust from sacks of asbestos.

As I noted, my colleagues and I have helped several railroad employees and their families receive compensation for asbestos-related occupational illnesses under the provisions of the Federal Employers liability Act, or FELA. Each verdict such as this recent one in Baltimore comes as good news not only for the successful plaintiff, but also for all workers whose employers have not done enough to protect them.