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New Orleans Asbestos Blog

Assessing strength of evidence for causation an important task in talc litigation

Exposure to asbestos can cause a variety of health problems for those who are exposed to it. This includes not only mesothelioma and lung and throat cancer, but also lesser conditions like asbestosis, pleural thickening and pleural plaque, interstitial fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension.

One common result of significant asbestos exposure is pleaural mesothelioma, which is a form of cancer affecting the protective lining of the lungs. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include fluid buildup around the lungs, chest wall pain, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing and fatigue. Those who have been diagnosed with the condition should always work with an experienced attorney to determine the possible causes of their developing the condition, as well as their options for seeking compensation.

Asbestos-related disease may be a sleeping giant from World Trade Center attack

The attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 was tragic and horrific, and we are all aware of the destruction that occurred on that day. We are aware especially of those who lost their lives, as well as those who gave of themselves in service to the dead and wounded.

One of areas where the effects of that day remain to be fully seen is toxic asbestos-dust exposure. Those who were at and around ground zero on that day and those who assisted in the cleanup afterward, as well as those living in the city in the aftermath, were all exposed to dust which may have contained asbestos fibers. 

Addressing jurisdictional issues an important task in asbestos, talc-injury cases

Previously, we began looking at a recent Supreme Court case which puts prior talc-injury verdicts against Johnson & Johnson at risk of being reversed and which could present serious barriers for plaintiffs in these cases going forward. According to some attorneys, the decision will make it very difficult, if not impossible, for plaintiffs to exercise choice about the forum in which they sue companies responsible for exposing consumers to talc.

As we noted last time, at issue in the case was the requirements for personal jurisdiction, which is the authority of a court over a party in the context of a specific dispute. For personal jurisdiction to apply, a court must have jurisdiction over both the subject matter of the dispute and over each party involved in the dispute. There are several ways personal jurisdiction can apply, one of which is when there is sufficient contacts with the state to give the court authority over the parties.  

Supreme Court decision puts talc-injury verdicts, claims in precarious position

We have previously written on this blog on the potential link between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. As we’ve mentioned, proving causation in these cases is not necessarily an easy matter, as the science isn’t yet settled and there is room for doubt. Working with an experienced attorney is important to gather the strongest possible evidence and to build the best possible case.

Talcum powder cases can be difficult not only with respect to substantive legal issues like causation, but also when it comes to procedural requirements like jurisdiction. A recent example of this is how Johnson & Johnson is trying to take advantage of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this month holding that out-of-state plaintiffs in a California case involving Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. are not able to sue the company there because they failed to prove there was sufficient contact with the state to proceed with claims there. 

Seeking workers’ compensation benefits for workplace asbestos exposure, P.3

We’ve been looking in recent posts at seeking workers’ compensation benefits for asbestos-related diseases and how this compares to pursuing damages against manufacturers of asbestos-containing products in court. Last time, we mentioned that one of the considerations in determining what type of compensation to pursue is how that compensation will affect other forms of compensation that may be received for asbestos-related diseases.

One issue to consider in cases where both a workers’ compensation claim and a tort claim against a third-party manufacturer are filed is subrogation. With respect to workers’ compensation insurers, this refers to the right to recover losses for the costs of workers’ compensation benefits paid out to injured workers from any tort damages awarded to the injured worker. 

Seeking workers’ compensation benefits for workplace asbestos exposure, P.2

Previously, we began looking at some of the considerations that go into deciding whether to pursue workers’ compensation benefits or a legal claim against a manufacturer for asbestos exposure on the job. As we noted, these considerations include the relative difficulty of proving that asbestos-related diseases are work-related, and meeting the statute of limitations.

Another important issue to consider is the type of compensation available, whether through workers’ compensation or a claim against a third-party manufacturer. Workers’ compensation includes medical benefits, as well as permanent total and permanent partial disability benefits, and supplemental earnings benefits. These benefits are paid out according to very specific rules and are subject to limitations. 

Have you experienced signs of mesothelioma?

Though working in the Avandale shipyard may have allowed you a way to earn an income and provide for yourself and your family, you may have been exposed to some serious health risks. Aside from the possibility of having an accident on the job and suffering serious injuries, you likely also faced exposure to asbestos. Now, you probably know that asbestos exposure could pose a risk of causing you to suffer from potentially fatal forms of cancer.

One of the most common types of cancer stemming from asbestos exposure is mesothelioma. This disease can prove difficult to treat and have significantly negative impacts on your life. Unfortunately, no cure exists for this type of cancer.

Seeking workers’ compensation benefits for workplace asbestos exposure

Asbestos exposure can occur in a variety of settings and circumstances, but one of the most common is on the job. Special considerations go into asbestos cases involve workplace exposure. For one thing, such cases often involve multiple exposures, sometimes over multiple work sites and multiple employers, making it more difficult to track where the exposure came from and who should be held responsible.  

Another challenge in workplace exposure cases is deciding whether to file a workers’ compensation claim with an employer, or to file a legal action against a manufacturer responsible for the asbestos exposure. In some cases, an employee may be able to pursue both types of claims, but it depends on the circumstances. 

Cigarettes, hookas and asbestos combined: a smoking time bomb

Many Louisiana residents develop habits that may not be good for their health. In fact, if you surveyed people in each of the 50 states, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who never engaged in some type of behavior that placed personal health at risk. When it comes to cigarette smoking, hookas and asbestos, however, not only are there confirmed serious health risks, but any combination of the three creates a potential for health-related disaster.

Most people are exposed to trace amounts of asbestos at some point in their lives. Typically, it doesn't pose any type of health problem. If you've worked in an industry that involved extensive exposure on a repetitive basis, that's another story altogether. In fact, building ships, milling, mining or working in home renovations often exposes workers to dangerous levels of asbestos. If these workers are smokers and also develop cancer, it may be more difficult for them to treat their diseases.

The importance of documentation in asbestos litigation

In any asbestos injury case, thorough documentation of the condition is critical to building the strongest possible claim. There are several reasons for this. First of all, there is the need to establish that the condition has been properly diagnosed and does indeed exist.

There is also the need to establish that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos at a given time and place and that the defendant was responsible for the exposure. A third reason documentation is so important in asbestos litigation is that it helps the plaintiff to properly establish the damages to which he or she is legally entitled.