Justice Stuart Berger of the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland has agreed with a trial jury that returned a multi-million dollar verdict in favor of a former steamfitter who was diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed at work.
In the asbestos injury case, the steamfitter (plaintiff) explained that he was exposed to asbestos insulation while working on a construction project at a local high school. Although he did not install the insulation, the plaintiff says that he spent 70% of his three to four months working in the school’s boiler room, where insulation contractors were installing items that contained asbestos. This exposure, claimed the plaintiff, later resulted in his mesothelioma diagnosis.
Although the plaintiff’s exposure lasted just a few months, according to the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “there is no “safe” level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber. Asbestos exposures as short in duration as a few days have caused mesothelioma in humans. Every occupational exposure to asbestos can cause injury of disease; every occupational exposure to asbestos contributes to the risk of getting an asbestos related disease.”
According to a Legal NewsLine report, the plaintiff and his wife were initially “awarded $14.5 million in damages, which the Circuit Court later lowered to $7.2 million because of cross-claims against defendants who weren’t present.” The defendant appealed. In response to the appeal, the plaintiff was able to provide time sheets and partial billing statements as evidence—evidence that the appeals court said “was enough.”
It was noted that while it doesn’t prove that the defendant put asbestos insulation in the boiler for the boiler room of the school, “the evidence did show that it was pretty probable that” the defendant “was liable and responsible for the work.”
If you have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace, make an appointment to see your doctor right away. Even if you do not have any symptoms, your doctor will refer you to a specialist who can assess your risk of developing mesothelioma and set a monitoring plan that could help catch the disease in its earliest and most treatable stages.
Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, early detection could lead to better outcomes. See your doctor to assess your risk today.
“Asbestos.” Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). United States Department of Labor, 2014. Web. 06 Feb. 2019.
Little, Charmaine. “Maryland court upholds $7.2 million award to couple over husband's mesothelioma diagnosis.” Legal NewsLine, Legal NewsLine, 10 Oct. 2018. Web. 06 Feb. 2019.