States Wrestle with Mesothelioma Laws & Violations


The city of Paterson, New Jersey is facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for putting city workers at risk for deadly mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases.

A state labor department inspection determined that Paterson had committed 43 OSHA safety violations, including 13 “serious” violations related to asbestos removal. The labor department says the city failed to properly supervise, train or monitor employees charged with removing asbestos ceiling tiles from a city building. They’re also charged with failing to provide the workers with the proper safety equipment.

Asbestos is the primary cause of malignant mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer. Workers exposed to the asbestos now face an increased lifetime risk of developing mesothelioma. Paterson could face fines of $4,500 per day for each OSHA violation unless it complies with state safety requirements.

In Utah, a Federal Court has rejected the so-called “every exposure” theory in the case of a mechanic with mesothelioma. The man claimed that his mesothelioma was triggered by exposure to brake dust from the defendant’s asbestos brakes. Although his lawyer brought in a physician to testify that any amount of asbestos exposure could cause mesothelioma, the court rejected the idea as “inadmissible speculation that is devoid of responsible scientific support.” The decision may make it more difficult for future mesothelioma patients to be compensated for their injuries.

Finally, in Missouri, mesothelioma victims can expect larger payouts from the court in cases of employer liability if Senate Bill 1 is passed. The bill would require mesothelioma to be covered under worker’s compensation benefits. The bill also contains provisions to ensure that patients with mesothelioma, asbestosis and eight other toxic exposure diseases are entitled to extra compensation. Employers would be required to pay, in lump sum, 300 percent of the state’s average weekly wage for 191 weeks. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, whose family has been affected by mesothelioma, is expected to sign the bill.


Krainin, D & Brillault, M, “Utah Federal Court Rejects ‘Every Exposure’ Theory”, April 24, 2013, National Law Review website.
Bechtold, Nathan, “Bills would reduce corporate taxes, increase mesothelioma payouts in Missouri”, April 5, 2013, LakeExpo.com.
Malinconico, Joe, “NJ hits Peterson with 43 OSHA violations, including 13 for asbestos removal”, April 22, 2013, NorthJersey.com.

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