Trump Administration Is Trying to Take Away Your Legal Rights

A range of proposed changes to the civil justice system under the Trump administration would threaten the rights of plaintiffs in personal injury cases; deprive US citizens of their Seventh Amendment right to a trial by jury; and make it far more difficult for individual workers and consumers to hold large corporations accountable in court.
Most concerning, the agenda could include a series of restrictive and invasive procedures and litigation requirements for clients in class actions, pharmaceutical cases, and asbestos cases. The proposed legislation would require that trusts established to fund asbestos claims would be required to report any payments made to plaintiffs, putting personal and financial information at risk. A push to make it harder for plaintiffs to keep cases in state courts would also infringe on the rights of personal injury plaintiffs.

We encourage all citizens to pay attentions to these developments and let your representatives know your opinions on them.

Asbestos Awareness Week: The Facts

Today marks the last day of Asbestos Awareness Week.  However, the effect educating oneself and sharing information with loved ones will have a lasting impact. Share these facts with your loved ones, friends, and community to bring awareness to the dangers of asbestos.

Question #1: What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring microscopic mineral that can be a health hazard when it becomes friable or brittle. When asbestos fibers are disturbed and become airborne, they can be very easily inhaled. When asbestos is inhaled, its sharp and rigid fibers stick in the soft tissue of the respiratory system and can lead to the development of mesothelioma and other forms of cancer.

Question #2: Where is asbestos found?

Asbestos is a common name for six naturally occurring silicate minerals. Because of its highly desirable commercial uses, asbestos was  used in many schools, homes, commercial and industrial buildings, large manufacturing parts for ships and water sewage plants etc. With asbestos being used in more than 3,000 consumer products it is still frequently found in kitchen tiles, ceiling tiles, outside house siding, and piping.

Question #3: Who is at risk for exposure to asbestos?

Asbestos exposure is widely known to be a risk only to the workers on a job site where asbestos was once used or is currently being used, like construction sites, industrial buildings with ceiling and floor tiles, building shingles, as well as ships who used asbestos spare parts to change large gaskets. However, secondhand exposure can occur to anyone when workers who come into contact with asbestos carry the fibers home on their clothing. Military veterans, teachers working in older school buildings, people who renovate older homes, firefighters, people living near asbestos manufacturing facilities and many others are also at risk for exposure to asbestos.

Question #4: Diseases associated with exposure to asbestos fibers

Over a period of time, these fibers can accumulate and cause scarring and inflammation, which can affect breathing and lead to serious health problems such as:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestosis
  • Lung cancer

If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos, you should inform your physician and ask if they would recommend any pulmonary function monitoring or further screening for asbestos disease.

The law firm of Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman honors the memory of the countless lives lost to asbestos disease. We are proud to represent clients with mesothelioma and their families. We fight hard to win compensation, justice, and accountability from the corporations that manufactured and sold this known carcinogen.

Asbestos Awareness Week: Senate Resolution honors Asbestos victims

A small community in Libby, Montana has been recognized by the U.S. Senate who passed a “Resolution”  for the hundreds that have died from the rampant death and illness caused from asbestos related exposure at the W.R. Grace and Co. mine. The resolution highlights the need to call upon the surgeon general to “warn and educate people about the public health issue of asbestos exposure, which may be hazardous to their health.”

The W.R. Grace & Co. mine operated from 1963 and then shut down in 1990 after large quantities of asbestos fibers were found in vermiculite. Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that is mined from raw ore deposits in a method very similar to asbestos mining. During operation the mine employed up to 200 people and produced up to 200,000 tons of vermiculite a year, however, more than 3,000 people were affected from asbestos exposure who lived nearby.

The Libby tragedy was originally uncovered when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote a series of articles about Libby in 1999, titled “Uncivil Action: A Town Left to Die.” Following the release of the series, Libby received national attention to address the serious problem. A clean-up strategy began slowly identifying the sources of contamination as well as a thorough investigation of homes and businesses in the area. As of 2010, 1,460 businesses and residences have removed more than 900,000 cubic yards of contaminated material. The town has suffered from thousands of cases of asbestos and around 400 people have died from mesothelioma cancer to date. As for the town of Libby, even though the job is considered finished it will still remain contaminated for years.

The law firm of Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman honors the memory of the countless lives lost to asbestos disease. We are proud to represent clients with mesothelioma and their families. We fight hard to win compensation, justice, and accountability from the corporations that manufactured and sold this known carcinogen.

It’s National Asbestos Awareness Week

President and co-founder Linda Reinstein and Doug Lark of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) started what was originally called National Asbestos Awareness Day in 2005 Soon after it was changed to National Asbestos Awareness Week. It begins today, April 1st and will run thru April 7th. It is a great opportunity to educate the public on how dangerous asbestos products are as well as teach the public proper asbestos safety precautions at home, in public, or at the workplace.

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is the largest independent asbestos victims’ organization in the U.S. It was founded in 2004 to give asbestos victims and concerned citizens a united voice, to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and to work towards a global asbestos ban. ADAO is dedicated to preventing asbestos-caused diseases through national and international education, advocacy, and community initiatives

During the week, ADAO will highlight some of the following topics:

  1. World Health Organization and Elimination of Asbestos-Related Disease
  2. A personal asbestos-related story written and shared by Alan Reinstein
  3. Dr. Celeste Monforton shares “Workers’ Memorial Day: 2 Million Related Deaths Last Year”

The law firm of Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman honors the memory of the countless lives lost to asbestos disease. We are proud to represent clients with mesothelioma and their families. We fight hard to win compensation, justice and accountability from the corporations that manufactured and sold this known carcinogen.

Asbestos Concerns Go Beyond the Sinking of Old Navy Ships

While reading the Wall Street Journal, I came across an interesting article about the U.S. Navy’s practice of using old warships as target practice and sinking them off the coasts of the United States.  For almost two years now there has been a moratorium on the Navy’s sinking exercises (SINKEX) because of the concerns of environmental groups as well as cost concerns.  But, after a review of these issues, the Navy decided to lift the moratorium on the SINKEX program and this summer undertook plans to sink three inactive vessels, the USS Kilauea, USS Niagara Falls and USS Concord, off the coast of Hawai‘i.

Many older US Navy vessels still contain hazardous materials such as PCB’s and asbestos.  For years conservation groups have raised concerns about the impact of these toxins on the environment.  These groups believe these inactive warships should be sent to ship breaking facilities and not sunk in the ocean.  Based on my experience, I know that older Navy vessels contained literally tons of asbestos which is part of the basis for these concerns.

Tons of Asbestos Products Used on Navy Ships

Naval vessels constructed during World War II and into the 1970’s were heavily insulated with asbestos.  On steam-driven Navy ships, asbestos insulation was used on hot piping and equipment to ensure that the equipment operated properly and that the seamen were not exposed to the extremely hot surfaces or subjected to intense heat.  The types of asbestos products included insulating pads, pipe covering, tape, thread, cloth, gaskets, packing, and cement.  Nearly every piece of machinery that needed to be insulated would have been insulated with asbestos materials.


Many of the asbestos products used in the construction and maintenance of these massive warships still remain aboard them today.  Removal of the asbestos and other hazardous materials aboard is a very costly procedure which was demonstrated when the USS Oriskany (CV-34) was sunk off the coast of Florida in 2006 to be used as an artificial reef.  In order to sink the USS Oriskany, the Environment Protection Agency required that the vessel to be completely cleaned up which cost around $20 million.

Concerns About Asbestos Are Not Only Environmental

The concerns about asbestos on Navy ships are not just an environmental concern.  Shipyard workers and Navy crewmen who served and worked aboard these vessels were exposed to the dangers of asbestos fibers on a daily basis as they constructed, repaired, maintained and lived upon these warships.  The crewmen and shipyard workers who served and worked aboard these ships are at a greater risk of developing mesothelioma, a rare and fatal lung cancer, and other asbestos related diseases due to their exposure to asbestos.

Our Clients Are Navy Veterans and Shipyard Workers

I have had the privilege to represent hundreds of U.S. Navy veterans and shipyard workers who sadly were diagnosed with mesothelioma because of their exposure to asbestos.  Since 1978 I have been fighting for the rights of U.S. Navy veterans and shipyard workers who were unnecessarily exposed to this hazardous material because the companies that sold these products failed to warn of the dangers that they themselves knew about.  To read more about how we have helped our clients recover for the injuries they and their families have suffered, please visit our website article and read about “Our results.”

If you or someone you love served in the U.S. Navy or worked aboard U.S. Navy vessels and has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important that all of you are aware of your legal rights.  Please contact us so we can help.


Asbestos Removal and Disposal: A Continuing Hazard

Most Americans now know that asbestos is a dangerous mineral which can cause respiratory diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.  For many years, however, asbestos was used in a wide variety of products such as drywall, insulation, cement, tile, electrical cable, brake pads and even cooking utensils, to name just a few.   Many companies continued to use asbestos in their products well into the 1980s and 90s, even after they knew that it was hazardous.

Today, we can still find asbestos in older homes, schools, mills, factories, and other commercial buildings.  If it is not handled properly, this asbestos may present a health risk to our communities.

This is a matter of special concern to me as a mesothelioma lawyer.  For more than 30 years, I have represented workers and families who were exposed to asbestos through industrial use in the past.  It is critical that we take steps to make sure that people are not exposed to asbestos in the future.

Dealing With Asbestos Today

Although asbestos was a cheap material to use, it isn’t necessarily cheap to remove.  Asbestos inspections and removal can be timely and expensive.  For example, some large buildings that contain high levels of asbestos cannot simply be demolished; asbestos-containing materials must be removed piece by piece.

Recently, I read some disturbing stories which brought my attention to a rarely discussed step in asbestos removal – disposal.  Asbestos today is often classified as hazardous waste, and not all facilities will accept asbestos-containing materials.  As a result, people may find it easier to illegally dump asbestos in public areas.  This can pose a serious problem for those in the surrounding area who may just see a harmless pile of debris.  In addition, those who may be ultimately called upon to remove the debris may also be at risk of inhaling asbestos fibers.

Encouraging Safe Asbestos Removal and Disposal

It is so important that we create accessible and affordable channels to make safe asbestos removal practical.  We cannot make the process so difficult or expensive that people are encouraged to take shortcuts when dealing with this very serious problem.  Moreover, we cannot afford to have accurate inspections, thorough removal, and then fail in safely disposing harmful asbestos materials.  We must succeed in all stages, from the initial inspection for asbestos to its disposal, it is important that the diligence continues throughout the entire process to ensure the safety of those who may have contact with these materials.

 Society’s Position Toward Asbestos

As a mesothelioma lawyer, I have been helping asbestos victims and their families for over three decades, and I have seen a giant shift in attitude of our society when it comes to asbestos.  Through litigation efforts, we have successfully deterred asbestos manufacturers from continuing to produce asbestos-containing products, and we have raised awareness of asbestos in our communities.

Today, we see asbestos-related problems being treated with the gravity they require.  Together, we have managed to change some very harmful actions and attitudes, but the remnants of those decisions are still present today.  Therefore, we must continue to be mindful and thorough in removing asbestos from our environment to help mitigate potential asbestos-related illnesses in the future.

Prevalence of Asbestos & Asbestos Disease in US Pacific Islands

It is well known that for decades asbestos was used worldwide in an overwhelming number of construction and industrial applications, as well as in many consumer products.  Unfortunately, exposure to asbestos can cause debilitating lung diseases, including mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer of the lungs for which there is presently no cure.  Accordingly many organizations have studied where and how asbestos was previously used in an effort to estimate the prevalence of asbestos related diseases.

Asbestos Use and Exposure in US Pacific Islands

I recently read in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) investigated the past use and potential asbestos exposure in the US Pacific Islands which consists of American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Republic of Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.  The WHO’s Regional Framework for Action for Occupational Health 2011-2015 calls for a collaborative effort in the US Pacific Islands to effectively eliminate the threat of asbestos in today’s society.  Understanding where and how asbestos exposures have occurred is key to this effort.

The data search focused on the environmental presence of asbestos, where potential exposures occur, and related diseases.  Although the data is limited, it is clear that the potential for asbestos exposure in the US Pacific Islands is significantly higher than previously thought for a number of reasons.

Asbestos Use at Shipbuilding Facilities

One of the primary sources of asbestos exposure stems from the fact that shipbuilding facilities were located on some of these islands.  As we know from our own experience in the United States, prior to the mid 1970’s, asbestos was heavily used in the maintenance and repair of ships.  The islands of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands served as active military ports during World War II.  Guam maintained active shipbuilding facilities even after World War II.  Both military and civilian workers at these sites were likely exposed to asbestos.

Data Underestimates Asbestos Disease

Professionals involved with the study concluded that the existing data probably underestimates the actual prevalence of asbestos diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.  This under reporting is a result of substantial gaps in the information regarding asbestos exposure, consumption and disease in the US Pacific Islands.  However, there is sufficient evidence that confirms asbestos is and has been present on these islands for decades.  If this gap in asbestos related data continues, it will hinder the efforts to regulate and reduce the health effects of asbestos.

Asbestos Exposure Cause of Mesothelioma

Asbestos exposure is the cause of mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by the inhalation asbestos fibers.  Asbestos insulation was heavily used in the construction, repair and maintenance of US Navy vessels. Many asbestos-containing materials were also used in the construction of military and civilian buildings in the 20th century, as asbestos was an excellent fire proofing and insulating material.  As these buildings begin to deteriorate, need repair or are destroyed, the risk of asbestos exposure still remains prevalent in today’s society, including in the US Pacific Islands.

Mesothelioma victims typically do not begin to show symptoms of the disease until 10 to 40 years after the initial exposure.  This latency period in the disease may be hindering countries such as Asia, India and the US Pacific Island in keeping accurate records of asbestos related disease and exposure.  Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma are typically in their 50’s or 60’s and only start to show symptoms in the later stages of the disease.  Sadly, there is currently no cure for this devastating disease.  For this reason prevention and awareness of asbestos is imperative in these countries.

Asbestos Awareness & Prevention

The Galiher Law Firm has been representing victims of mesothelioma for over 30 years.  I have been a strong advocate of the awareness and prevention of this deadly disease.  One of the keys to someday eliminating this terrible disease is prevention of asbestos exposure.  My law firm and I commend the World Health Organization for all of its efforts to raise awareness to prevent and eliminate asbestos from many countries.