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October 18, 2018

Feds: Franklin Park metal company didn't tell workers about asbestos

A Franklin Park metal company has been fined by a federal agency for not telling its workers about the presence of asbestos.

The regional office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited A.M. Castle, 3400 N. Wolf Road, with nine violations on March 24 — five of which are classified as serious.

OSHA spokeswoman Rhonda Burke said the government agency defines “serious” violations as ones where “death or serious harm could exist from a hazard they did or should have known existed.”

The serious violations include:

• Not posting danger signs or warning employees about confined spaces (inside a machine used for cleaning or altering the surface of metal) that could expose employees to asbestos

• Failing to inform employees there might be asbestos in areas where they work

• Training on asbestos for employees not being up to OSHA standards

• Not providing annual asbestos training focusing on recognizing asbestos and how to avoid it.

This is not the first time OSHA has cited A.M. Castle’s facility in Franklin Park. In October 2011, OSHA cited the company for 20 serious violations, Burke said. OSHA proposed $127,600 in fines, which was negotiated down to $63,500.

In March 2012, OSHA again cited Castle Metals on two violations. Those were not providing awareness training for employees who work in areas with asbestos, and not having a copy of the OSHA Asbestos Standard available to employees. OSHA cited A.M. Castle for a total of $8,400, which A.M. Castle paid without negotiating or contesting.

A.M. Castle was fined for those same two violations this year.

This time around, OSHA has proposed $59,720 in fines; A.M. Castle has 50 working days to respond. The company can contest the fines, meet with the area director of OSHA and perhaps negotiate lower fines, or pay the fines. The company will also have to correct the violations

A.M. Castle is headquartered in Oak Brook. The company’s legal department declined to comment.

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

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Feds: Franklin Park metal company didn't tell workers about asbestos

New York Mesothelioma Law Firm Belluck & Fox Wins $4 Million Verdict for Plant Worker Exposed to Asbestos

New York NY mesothelioma verdict, asbestos case

NY Attorney Joseph W. Belluck

Belluck and Fox is dedicated to representing mesothelioma victims across New York State. We are honored that the Dominick family allowed us to represent them and proud that we obtained the largest verdict ever in an asbestos case in Oneida County.

New York, NY (PRWEB) March 23, 2015

A plant worker who developed both mesothelioma and lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos products has won a $4 million verdict against the company who supplied those products, the nationally recognized New York law firm of Belluck & Fox, LLP, announced today.

After a trial before the Honorable Charles C. Merrell, the jury returned its verdict on March 18 in the Supreme Court of New York, County of Oneida, in the case of Nicholas Dominick and Lorraine J. Dominick v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al. (No. CA2014-000232).

The jury awarded the Dominick family $1 million for past pain and suffering and $3 million for future pain and suffering, assessing 30% of the fault to Pacemaker.

“Mr. Dominick has suffered tremendous pain as a result of Pacemaker/Charles Millar’s negligence. His sickness could have, and should have been prevented. I’m grateful that the jury was able to deliver justice for him and his wonderful family,” said Brittany Russell, an associate attorney at Belluck & Fox who tried the case along with partner Bryan Belasky on behalf of the Dominick family.

Partners Joe Belluck and Seth Dymond provided assistance to the trial team. “Our law firm, Belluck and Fox, is dedicated to representing mesothelioma victims across New York State. We are honored that the Dominick family allowed us to represent them and proud that we obtained the largest verdict ever in an asbestos case in Oneida County. Once again, this shows that the jury system in New York works,” Belluck said.

According to court documents, between 1968 and 1973, Mr. Dominick worked as an internal grinder at the Chicago Pneumatic tool manufacturing plant in Utica, New York. The jury determined that Mr. Dominick developed pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer as a result of his exposure to bags of asbestos and asbestos boards supplied by Pacemaker/Charles Millar to Chicago Pneumatic, which were used in the plant’s annealing process. The jury found that Pacemaker/Charles Millar was negligent in failing to warn Mr. Dominick about the dangers of asbestos associated with the products it supplied. The case is significant in New York asbestos litigation, as it is the largest verdict ever levied against a distributor of asbestos products, and the largest asbestos verdict of any nature obtained in Oneida County.

Asbestos is a mineral that has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly form of cancer which results from breathing in asbestos fibers that become lodged in the thin membrane that lines and encases the lungs.

At trial, lawyers from Belluck & Fox presented evidence from a series of experts regarding the use of asbestos in heat treatment annealing processes, the causation of Mr. Dominick’s mesothelioma and lung cancer, the state-of-the-art evidence relating to the dangers of asbestos, and testimony about the cancers’ impact on Mr. Dominick. Testifying on behalf of the plaintiffs were experts Dr. Jacqueline Moline, Dr. David Rosner, and Dr. Uriel Oko.

Defendant Pacemaker/Charles Millar was represented by Robert Cahalan of Smith, Sovik, Kendrick & Sugnet, P.C, and called expert Dr. Frederick Schmidt to testify on its behalf.

About Belluck & Fox

Belluck & Fox, LLP, is a nationally recognized law firm that represents individuals with asbestos and mesothelioma claims, as well as victims of crime, motorcycle crashes, lead paint and other serious injuries. The firm provides personalized and professional representation and has won over $650 million in compensation for clients and their families. The firm has been named one of the top law firms in America by U.S. News & World Report every year since 2011.

Partner Joseph W. Belluck is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell and is listed in Best Lawyers in America, New York Magazine’s “Best Lawyers in the New York Area” and in Super Lawyers. Mr. Belluck has won numerous cases involving injuries from asbestos, defective medical products, tobacco and lead paint, including a recent asbestos case that settled for more than $12 million.

Partner Jordan Fox is an award-winning, nationally-recognized asbestos attorney. In 2013 he was named “Lawyer of the Year” for the New York Metro area by Best Lawyers in America after securing $32 million and $19.5 million verdicts in two separate asbestos cases. He is regularly listed in the annual Best Lawyers in America list and has also appeared in Super Lawyers. A number of his verdicts have been featured among the National Law Journal’s Largest Verdicts of the Year.

For more information, contact the firm at (877) 637-6843 or through the online contact form.


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New York Mesothelioma Law Firm Belluck & Fox Wins $4 Million Verdict for Plant Worker Exposed to Asbestos

City of Chicago accused of hiding asbestos

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) –

It was an underground surprise they hadn’t bargained for.

A southwest suburban contractor is suing the city claiming it hid dangerous asbestos buried under a construction site.

The site is now a police station on the near South Side at 14th and Blue Island.

The 12th District Chicago police station has been open for two years. However, the battle over what was discovered underground will rage on.

Fox 32: you call this an act of fraud?

“I did. And we do. We believe they fraudulently induced Harbour contractors to enter into the contract,” said attorney Charles Lewis.

Lewis represents Harbour contractors of southwest suburban Plainfield, which has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Public Building Commission of Chicago. That agency, which is headed by the mayor and made up of political appointees, is in charge of building and financing new construction for the city of Chicago and Cook County.

In 2010 the Public Building Commission, or “PBC,” awarded Harbour a 20-million dollar contract to build the new police station at 14th and Blue Island, on the site of the old ABLA public housing project.

The PBC said that the site had been inspected by an environmental company and nothing dangerous was found. But soon after construction began, a subcontractor employed by Harbour discovered underground heating pipes wrapped in cancer-causing asbestos running throughout the property.

Those pipes were installed in the 1930s and 40s to provide heat to the public housing buildings.

“You’ve got asbestos that has been dug up that is friable. It’s in the air,” Lewis said. “It creates safety hazards for Harbour’s people and the subcontractor’s people on the job site.”

The asbestos discovery also put the project on hold, which Harbour said cost them millions of dollars. As part of the lawsuit, Harbour filed to recover the funds. The company said it has uncovered evidence that the PBC knew about the asbestos, but ignored it.

Harbour alleges the agency instructed the environmental company inspecting the site to not dig test pits in areas where it knew there was asbestos.

In an email from 2011 included in the lawsuit, a PBC official refers to a drawing used “…to avoid the steam lines during test pitting activities.”

“Absolutely they were trying to hide this,” Lewis said. “Because it would cause tremendous delay to the project and additional cost.”

A PBC spokesperson said the agency categorically denies there was any attempt to hide the asbestos, saying it was a surprise to them, too, noting that a judge has dropped two of the fraud counts from the lawsuit.

The PBC said Harbour needs to file a claim under the contract to get any money it’s entitled to, and not file suit.

Harbour has helped build dozens of projects for the Public Building Commission, including the international terminal at O’Hare. But the company’s attorney says after this experience, no more.

“My client will never work for the Public Building Commission again. I’m sure there are a number of general contractors out there who won’t work for the public building commission again,” Lewis said.

The Public Building Commission paid for the asbestos removal at the site, but Harbour contends the delays cost it millions. The PBC concedes some of that, but said there were other cost overruns by Harbour that had nothing to do with the hazardous materials.

More: 

City of Chicago accused of hiding asbestos

6 firms cited for asbestos violations during work at Evanston school

Federal safety officials say six Chicago-area companies have been cited after workers allegedly were exposed to asbestos and other hazards while renovating a middle school in Evanston.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the exposure occurred during the summer renovation of the Chute Middle School cafeteria. The agency is proposing a combined $132,000 in penalties.

OSHA and Illinois Department of Public Health officials say the companies didn’t require employees to limit asbestos exposure or wear personal protective equipment while cutting pipes that contained asbestos, failed to take air samples and didn’t properly dispose of debris.

Asbestos exposure has been linked to lung cancer.

Inspectors say some workers also were exposed to lead-based paint and electrical hazards.

The companies have 15 days to accept or contest the citations.

Associated Press

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

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6 firms cited for asbestos violations during work at Evanston school

Travelers ordered to pay over $500 mln in asbestos case

(Adds Travelers, lawyer’s comments)

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK, July 22 (Reuters) – A federal appeals court ordered Travelers Cos Inc to pay more than $500 million to thousands of asbestos victims in a case stemming from the insurer’s coverage of Johns-Manville Corp, an insulation maker that spent six years in bankruptcy during the 1980s.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversed a February 2012 ruling in which U.S. District Judge John Koeltl said conditions under three settlement agreements in 2004 that required Travelers to make the payment had not been satisfied.

Writing for a three-judge appeals court panel on Tuesday, Circuit Judge Ralph Winter said Koeltl’s interpretation “could not reasonably have been intended by the parties, whatever Travelers’ private hopes and dreams, and is not supported by the language of the agreements.”

The 2nd Circuit ordered the reinstatement of a 2011 ruling by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland, who oversaw Johns-Manville’s bankruptcy, that Travelers make payments required under the 2004 agreements, plus $65 million of interest. Koeltl had reversed that ruling. Lifland died in January.

Patrick Linehan, a Travelers spokesman, said the insurer is reviewing Tuesday’s decision, and has set aside reserves to cover the entire payout, apart from interest payments.

Many companies had stopped using asbestos for fireproofing and insulation by the mid-1970s after it was linked to cancer and other diseases. Litigation persists because the effects of exposure can take decades to surface.

Now owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc , Johns-Manville had from the 1920s to 1970s been the largest U.S. maker of products containing asbestos.

It filed for bankruptcy protection in 1982 under the weight of asbestos litigation, and settled various claims in 1986. Johns-Manville emerged from Chapter 11 in 1988.

The 2nd Circuit rejected Travelers’ contention that it need not pay claimants in light of a June 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision that limited claims against the insurer, and a separate decision by the 2nd Circuit the following March. It also said Travelers had waived potential objections to the payment.

“Obviously, we’re gratified,” said Ronald Barliant, a partner at Goldberg Kohn in Chicago who represents about 1,600 claimants. “Payments should have been made five years ago.”

Sander Esserman, a partner at Stutzman, Bromberg, Esserman & Plifka in Dallas representing other claimants, said he looks forward to Travelers “paying the thousands of plaintiffs who are owed money.”

Paul Clement, a partner at Bancroft PLLC who represents other claimants, was not immediately available for comment.

The 2nd Circuit heard oral arguments in January 2013.

Separately, Travelers on Tuesday posted a larger-than-expected 26 percent drop in second-quarter profit, as hail and windstorms boosted catastrophe-related losses. Its shares fell as much as 5.1 percent by early afternoon.

The case is Common Law Settlement Counsel et al v. Travelers Indemnity Co et al, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Nos. 12-1094, 12-1140 and 12-1205.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli, Lisa Von Ahn and Tom Brown)

Original link:

Travelers ordered to pay over $500 mln in asbestos case

Asbestos Discovered During Freedom Tank Removal

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Asbestos Discovered During Freedom Tank Removal

CPS buildings go through summer asbestos removal

When Chicago Public Schools students return to classrooms on Monday, dozens of their schools will have undergone asbestos abatement during the summer.

The city’s Public Building Commission coordinated the asbestos removal in 88 schools; 43 of those are receiving buildings that are absorbing thousands of students whose schools were shuttered as part of the massive CPS school closures.

“I would tell people who are not routinely involved in renovation that this in fact is very routine, very regulated and it’s not something that should cause any concern,” said Erin Lavin, executive director of the PBC.

As part of closing 50 schools, CPS promised renovations to the schools many children from closing schools would attend.

Repairs can disturb asbestos, so every school that’s subjected to renovations is tested. If, for example, a classroom floor is positive, asbestos would be removed before the tile is replaced.


Buildings built before 1980 likely have material containing asbestos. Under federal law, CPS is required to develop an asbestos management plan for each school and complete an assessment every three years. Illinois Department of Public Health licensed inspectors perform the removal. PBC officials say before abatement is done, they notify the state public health department and then CPS sends a notice to faculty and staff. CPS said principals received asbestos notices to post on bulletin boards.

In addition, CPS has a written policy for the construction process. Typically, the CPS website lists the asbestos reports for schools like this one and here.

Some parents and principals have said they didn’t know about the asbestos abatement in their school during the summer renovation project — leaving them miffed with the process.

Jeanette Taylor is the Local School Council president at Mollison elementary on 44th and King Drive.

“Somebody’s got to answer to this,” said Taylor, who has two children at Mollison and whose mother works at the school. “To me, this is hidden. Give parents the respect to say I need to take my kid out or is there somewhere else my kid [could] be served. This is wrong. And then you’re going to throw more kids in the building.”

Mollison is the receiving school for Overton, which has been closed.

“I am a mom of two. I am very conscious that people are concerned about their children’s health and safety as are any construction worker that works on a site or a parent or a teacher. I understand that this is something that would cause concern for folks and I want to make sure they understand this is routine in renovation,” Lavin said.

Jitu Brown is an education organizer with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, which has been adamantly opposed to the school closings.

“It’s a legitimate concern,” Brown said. “Regardless if some of these buildings are done, I think it speaks to a larger problem. And the problem is there’s no accountability from Chicago Public Schools. If there’s an issue with asbestos in public buildings, then there should be a public process in which we know these are the buildings that have an asbestos problem. Here is the plan to address these buildings and here is the timeline.”

Linda Lutton contributed to this report.

Natalie Moore is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her @natalieymoore.

Receiving buildings that are on the 2013 schools abatement list:

1. Brennemann 4251 N. Clarendon

2. Chappell 2135 W. Foster

3. McCutcheon and Branch 4865 N. Sheridan

4. McPherson 4728 N. Wolcott

5. Stockton w/CPC 4420 N. Beacon

6. Chopin 2450 W. Rice

7. De Diego 1313 N. Claremont

8. Morton 431 N. Troy

9. Ryerson 646 N. Lawndale

10. Cather 2908 W. Washington

11. Herbert 2131 W. Monroe

12. Jensen 3030 W. Harrison

13. Otis 525 N. Armour

14. Delano w/CPC 3927 W. Wilcox

15. Gregory 3715 W. Polk

16. Hefferan 4409 W. Wilcox

17. May 512 S. Lavergne

18. Tilton 223 N. Keeler

19. Hughes, C. 4247 W. 15th

20. Cardenas 2345 S. Millard

21. Castellanos 2524 S. Central Park Ave.

22. Beethoven 25 W. 47th Street

23. Mayo 249 E. 37th

24. Mollison 4415 S. King Dr.

25. Pershing West MS 3200 S. Calumet

26. Williams Middle 2710 S. Dearborn

27. Sexton 6020 S. Langley

28. Sherwood 245 W. 57th

29. Dulles 6311 S. Calumet

30. Banneker 6656 S. Normal

31. Bass 1140 W. 66th

32. Goodlow 2040 W. 62nd

33. Harvard 7525 S. Harvard

34. Nicholson 6006 S. Peoria

35. O’Toole 6550 S. Seeley

36. Altgeld 1340 W. 71st

37. Ryder 8716 S. Wallace

38. Lawrence 9928 S. Crandon

39. Cullen 10650 S. Eberhart

40. Curtis 32 E. 115th

41. Haley 11411 S. Eggelston

42. Gompers 12302 S. State

43. Fermi-South Shore 1415 E. 70th

Continue reading: 

CPS buildings go through summer asbestos removal

How can asbestos be safely removed? reports Mesothelioma firm

CHICAGO, March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — If you suspect that your house contains asbestos, you may be interested in having it removed or you may be wondering what will happen if you decide to renovate your home. Asbestos was commonly used in construction materials, such as drywall products, floor tile and roofing shingles, with some of these materials containing asbestos up until the mid 1980s. Asbestos is most dangerous when it becomes airborne, which can lead to diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. While having asbestos removed may seem like the best thing to do in light of our knowledge of the dangers of asbestos, it should be noted that asbestos removal is not always necessary. In some cases, doing so could actually increase the risks to you and your loved ones. If asbestos containing materials such as drywall and floor tile are undamaged, it is advisable to leave it alone.

You should always check with the proper authorities before beginning any project, and trained inspectors should be hired to investigate whether or not asbestos is present. If asbestos materials are present, you should hire qualified asbestos removal professionals to ensure that this dangerous mineral is taken out and disposed of properly.

There are several different types of professionals suited for this job, from general asbestos contractors to specialists such as roofing, flooring and plumbing contractors. The federal government offers training courses in asbestos removal. State and local health departments and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional offices are a few trustworthy places to turn to for lists of local, licensed professionals. You can also check the yellow pages of the phone book. It is important to remember that licensed professionals should always be consulted before beginning any asbestos removal project.

For more information on asbestos related diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis and other illnesses visit CooneyConway.com or call 888-875-7899 today.

Media Contact: Jessica McNeil Cooney & Conway, 888-875-7899, MainDesk@cooneyconway.com

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How can asbestos be safely removed? reports Mesothelioma firm

Fitch: Asbestos Reserve Deficiency Continues for U.S. Insurance Industry

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Fitch Ratings estimates industry asbestos reserves to be deficient by $2
billion to $8 billion at year-end 2011. Asbestos reserves make up
approximately 4% of total property/casualty industry reserves with
approximately 50% of reserves concentrated in five insurers.

In a new report, Fitch examines a range of loss scenarios and future
payments for asbestos losses up to an ultimate industry loss of $85
billion. Based on recent development experience and its latest analysis
of loss payment scenarios, Fitch’s target industry survival ratio is
11x-14x.

The reported industry survival ratio for asbestos liabilities increased
modestly to 10.3x in 2011 from 10.1x in 2010 and 9.9x in 2009,
indicating that incurred losses have expanded at a faster rate than paid
losses in recent years.

Fitch’s analysis reveals that the (re)insurance industry remains
strongly capitalized with the capacity to absorb future asbestos claims
without risk of material capital depletion. While Fitch does not
anticipate broad rating actions related to asbestos, the ratings of
individual companies could be adversely affected by the severity of
reserve deficiencies relative to capital.

The full report is available on the Fitch web site at ‘www.fitchratings.com‘.

Additional information is available at ‘www.fitchratings.com‘.

Applicable Criteria and Related Research: Asbestos Losses: Continued
Source of Reserve Deficiency

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=695246

ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND
DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING
THIS LINK: HTTP://FITCHRATINGS.COM/UNDERSTANDINGCREDITRATINGS.
IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE
AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY’S PUBLIC WEBSITE ‘WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM‘.
PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS
SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH’S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS
OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES
AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE ‘CODE OF CONDUCT’ SECTION OF
THIS SITE.

Contact:

Fitch Ratings

Dafina M. Dunmore, CFA, +1-312-368-3136

Director

Fitch, Inc.

70 West Madison St.

Chicago, IL 60602

or

Jim B. Auden, CFA, +1-312-368-3146

Managing Director

or

Media Relations:

Brian Bertsch, New York, +1 212-908-0549

Email:

brian.bertsch@fitchratings.com

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Fitch: Asbestos Reserve Deficiency Continues for U.S. Insurance Industry