Georgia-Pacific Corp. suspected of fraud in asbestos lawsuit

In the past several years, it has been revealed that a commonly used mineral, known as asbestos, can be hazardous to the health of people in Jefferson Parish and elsewhere. Exposure to the substance can lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer and other illnesses that are fatal.

Sources of asbestos

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it only takes a few days of exposure to asbestos for someone to contract mesothelioma. The mineral is microscopic in size and once inhaled, causes damage to lung tissue. Asbestos has been used for many products because it has the ability to resist corrosion and high amounts of heat. These products include:

  • Pipe insulation.
  • Automobile brakes.
  • Textiles.
  • Insulation.
  • Friction products

While many products no longer contain asbestos, older buildings and ships still may have products that were made with the mineral. To protect workers, OSHA has created strict standards relating to handling material with asbestos and emphasizes that any exposure to asbestos can be harmful.

Fraudulent scientific studies related to asbestos

In the 1970s, Georgia-Pacific Corp. produced a dry joint compound and a product called Ready-Mix, according to The Center for Public Integrity. Both products contained asbestos in them. Now, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the company for illnesses related to asbestos exposure.

An appeals court in New York recently voiced suspicions of fraud against Georgia-Pacific Corp. The allegations came over the revelation that the company conducted a secret research program, paying $6 million to 18 scientists. The scientists allegedly recreated the products and then performed studies with the materials. However, the scientists were under the direction of a Georgia-Pacific employee and all information was claimed confidential. The company then paid for articles that were published in scientific journals and claimed that exposure to asbestos was not harmful.

When the victims asked to see communication documents that were related to the study, the company refused. Georgia-Pacific claimed that because the studies were conducted by its legal department, the documents were protected under a client-attorney confidentiality status. However, the court ruled against the company, stating that it believed the company had engaged in fraud, and ordered Georgia-Pacific to turn over the documents to the victims.

Seeking compensation

The ruling in the case above may enable the victims to obtain the compensation to which they are entitled by law and strengthen other cases pending against Georgia-Pacific. Illnesses and diseases caused by asbestos exposure can create undue hardships on victims and their families with mounting medical costs, loss of income and other financial difficulties. Whether the exposure was through a job or through living in an older structure that contained asbestos, victims have the legal right to ask for appropriate compensation from the companies responsible.

Due to the fact that asbestos litigation can be extremely complicated, victims should meet with an experienced attorney and obtain legal representation.