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Massive long-running asbestos case finally awards payouts

There are not many public health issues that have attracted as much attention -- or cost as much money -- as asbestos. The substance's use as an insulator in the middle of the 20th century ensured that much of the rest of the century was spent arguing over its ill effects in court. Thousands of people suffering from respiratory disease or injury have lodged complaints in courts across the country.

A hotspot for lawsuits over asbestos exposure has been the Texas-Louisiana border, where refineries and chemical plants may have exposed thousands of neighbors and workers to hazardous substances in the air and water. One of the oldest and largest cases in the region finally came to a close with more than 2,000 victims winning a class action suit over asbestos-related health issues.

The namesake of the massive 28-year-old case did not live to see the conclusion, which resulted in $140 million worth of payouts to 2,288 workers from the region and their families. Descendants are the largest beneficiaries, as only around 70 direct litigants survive today.

Mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer, was prevalent among the exposed workers in Port Arthur, Texas, and the Lake Charles region of the Bayou State. Pulmonary asbestosis, which causes lung scarring and breathing problems, was also widely diagnosed among victims. The manufacturing company implicated in the proliferation of asbestos is now bankrupt, which further complicated the fight for compensation.

People who suspect asbestos affected their health may have the right to sue for financial damages from the responsible parties. An attorney can help victims and their families understand where they can turn for assistance.

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