Not long ago, I met with a man suffering from mesothelioma. This man had worked his entire career at Wisconsin Electric also know as WE Energies. The man worked at a variety of power plants in Wisconsin, including the Oak Creek power plant, the downtown Milwaukee plant, the Miller valley power plant in Milwaukee, the Pleasant Prairie plant near Kenosha, and various other Wisconsin Electric power plants and substations. On a number of occasions, he would work around asbestos included electrical work, plumbing related work, and oil treatment work. The asbestos was in gaskets, insulating pipes, used around wire and joints. Asbestos was used because it was a good insulator.
Sadly, the man was living a nice life of retirement in Florida enjoying when he was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a deadly disease that is only caused by asbestos exposure. He was suffering from shortness of breath when his doctor discovered fluid on his lungs. Eventually, a thoracic surgeon was seen and he did a biopsy, which led to the definitive diagnosis of asbestos-related mesothelioma.
When I handle these mesothelioma lawsuits, the victims generally know that their disease is a fatal one. However, the victims also know that the monies that are involved in these asbestos cases will do at least two things, punish the companies responsible (as many knew asbestos was carcinogenic and caused mesothelioma) and help the families of the victim of mesothelioma.
A Wisconsin Navy veteran contacted me several years ago. This Naval veteran had served on the USS Tattnall as a boiler technician. He was suffering with mesothelioma that was caused by years of asbestos exposure while serving in our U.S. Navy. This exposure to asbestos fibers took place while he worked in the boilerrooms surrounded by asbestos covered pipes on the U.S. Tattnall. He had been diagnosed by asbestos doctors at the Veteran’s Administration. Sadly, he passed away as a result of the mesothelioma.
Boiler insulation is a very common culprit in asbestos mesothelioma cases, including those involving U.S. Naval Veterans who worked on ships. The removal of this thermal insulation from boilers, pipes, tanks and ducts, which was common in all boilerrooms, caused the asbestos fibers to be released into the air. When repairs or maintenance was required, whether in ships or industrial applications, the insulation was a friable form of asbestos that could easily emit fibers easily into the air. Similarly, fibrous fluffy sprayed-on asbestos products used for fireproofing, insulation, or sound proofing were quite friable and could readily release airborne asbestos fibers. The potential for asbestos products to release breathable fibers was extremely hazardous to all those working in industrial occupations, especially with respect to boiler insulation.
We were able to successfully help this man’s family as we have many Navy veterans and veterans who served in other branches of the U.S. armed forces. We have also helped numerous boilermakers, plumbers and others exposed to asbestos in similar occupations. To date, we have helped the families of these mesothelioma victims living in Milwaukee, and other areas of Wisconsin, to recover more than $25,000,000.00. That we know of, no other local asbestos law firm has had this type of success. In fact, even so-called “national firms” have had limited success in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin mesothelioma asbestos victims have no better place to turn to than Wisconsin personal injury lawyers Pasternak & Zirgibel, S.C. Over the last several years, I have helped Wisconsin asbestos victims recover more than $24 million in cases related to mesothelioma. Many of these victims were exposed to asbestos in the military, a factory, a boiler room, construction sites, power plants, etc. Outfits advertise nationally for these cases, but all my Wisconsin clients prefers legal representation in Wisconsin especially highly qualified legal representation. I have been honored as one of Wisconsin’s Top 50 “Super Lawyers”, voted “Best Attorney” by CNI Newspapers, ranked as one of Milwaukee’s “Leading Lawyers”, received an AV® Preeminent rating, and named one of the “Best Lawyers in America.” If you or a loved one is a Wisconsin victim of asbestos mesothelioma, call at (262) 785-0802.
Wisconsin legislators, at the behest for ALEC and the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council, are at it again. Over the course of the last two years, they have combined to completely decimate asbestos and mesothelioma victims’ legal rights. These victims are typically senior citizens who have served our country in the armed forces, especially the Navy, or who were construction laborers, plumbers, electricians, etc. Most of these victims are dying a horrible death suffocating from the asbestos they breathed in over the course of their service. These Wisconsin citizens and Veterans are dying and yet these Wisconsin legislators, primarily Republicans, like Andre Jacque of De Pere, are shilling for big businesses and insurance companies. Representative Jacque apparently doesn’t care that only 9 asbestos related lawsuits were even filed in Wisconsin in 2012. No, instead he seeks to make sure that any remaining Wisconsin victims of asbestos and mesothelioma will not get justice.
The law Jacque, ALEC, and the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council propose compels that asbestos victims bring all Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust claims first, before bringing a lawsuit against non-bankrupt asbestos companies, like Halliburton, Union Carbide, utilities, and others. The goal is to reduce asbestos victims’ recoveries and delay mesothelioma victims’ ability to get their day in court before the die. Jacque apparently does not want to hear the latter, but that’s the tragic result of the law he has proposed. Clearly, Jacque has never had a family member die from asbestos-related disease or mesothelioma.
I’m honored to share this letter I received today. Very few Wisconsin personal injury lawyers are in The Best Lawyers in America, and I know of no lawyers in Wisconsin handling a significant number of asbestos victims’ asbestosis or mesothelioma cases who have been selected into this guide. In fact, as far as I know, the only mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers in Wisconsin listed in The Best Lawyers in America are attorneys who defend asbestos companies and myself.
In Singer v. Pneumo Abex, LLC, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled that a Milwaukee court should have granted summary judgment against the estate of a man who died from malignant mesothelioma. The successful Wisconsin defense law firm in the case was the Madison office of Godfrey & Kahn. The unsuccessful plaintiff was represented by an out-of-state law firm and not a Wisconsin asbestos law firm.
The evidence in the case showed that the plaintiff’s decedent had worked at Harnishfeger, one of many Wisconsin companies facing asbestos litigation or alleged to have some link to asbestos or mesothelioma. The evidence also showed that the plaintiff’s decedent was likely exposed to asbestos while cleaning up asbestos dust caused by brake linings at Harnishfeger’s plants. However, the plaintiff failed to prove that the plaintiff’s decedent was ever likely exposed to Abex’s brake shoes with asbestos.
Unfortunately, this problem highlights one of the major difficulties in succeeding in a wrongful death case related to malignant mesothelioma caused by asbestos, which is locating credible evidence from which a reasonable person could infer that the deceased was exposed to the defendant’s asbestos product. Since malignant mesothelioma may not be diagnosed for 20 or 30 years after a person’s exposure to asbestos, there may be difficulty in proving which asbestos products the person was exposed to that caused the mesothelioma.
The problem of product identification is one of many reasons why anyone diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma should hire immediately an asbestos lawyer. Too often, families will wait to hire a lawyer until after their family member has died from mesothelioma. However, doing that prevents the asbestos lawyer from obtaining sometimes critical evidence the would allow the attorney to prove which asbestos products caused the mesothelioma.
Asbestos exposure on construction sites was commonplace in the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s. Recently, I was able to help a man who was exposed to asbestos during that time. He worked throughout the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area and was diagnosed this year with mesothelioma. As is typical in asbestos mesothelioma cases, the diagnosis was made after a biopsy of his lung and a nodule. He is actually retired in Arizona, but since his exposure as a construction worker in the Sheet Metals Union took place here in Wisconsin, the basis for his lawsuit against manufactures and distributors of asbestos laced products is here and based on their causing his mesothelioma.
Crown Cork & Seal apparently has very good lobbyists or knows how to influence Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee, Legislature and Governor in order to basically get its own law in the recently passed budget. Sadly, those on the receiving end of this law are those victims suffocating from mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. Essentially, the law gives Crown Cork & Seal immunity in Wisconsin from asbestos related lawsuits filed by victims of asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Wisconsin’s Court of Appeals today released Tatera v. FMC Corp., 2008AP170. This asbestos lawsuit relates to the wrongful death of the plaintiff’s decedent who died of malignant mesothelioma. The widow asserted that the malignant mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos that took place while the decedent worked in a machine shop. The decedent had worked with friction brake materials and his job had involved grinding brake linings made with asbestos.
FMC Corp. was a supplier of asbestos brake linings and though it did not manufacture asbestos brake linings, it was alleged to have sent over 18,000 friction lining parts to the decedent’s employer. The lawsuit asserted that FMC and asbestos brake lining manufacturers were liable for the decedent’s wrongful death from mesothelioma based on Wisconsin strict liability and negligence law. Essentially, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that a such supplier of asbestos products could not be held strictly liable, but could be found negligent in causing the death from mesothelioma.