What is asbestos? What impact has it had on human life? Who does it put at risk of mesothelioma? Episode two of The Gary Galiher Law Hour will give you a grasp of the inseparable subjects of asbestos and mesothelioma and their continuing influence in the world today.
Asbestos, “whether it’s in powerhouses, whether it’s in the ground, or whether it’s in boats and canoes,” it attacks the lining of the lungs with a “mechanical movement of the [asbestos] fiber like an invisible needle that starts a tumor.” Surprisingly, asbestos is still mined from the ground and used today. According to Gary, “the use has greatly been curtailed in the United States, but it’s mind-boggling, the political influences of the mining concerns in Canada. The still try to use it and they do so successfully.” Asbestos finds its way into parts and supplies manufactured outside of the US, and winds up coming back into the country in these products.
As for mesothelioma, it is an astonishingly powerful industrial disease nearly always caused by asbestos, and a modern understanding of it has dramatically changed the world and the lives of people it affects. “When someone comes in with one of these diseases, we have to move really fast because the prognosis is generally not good,” says Gary. Sleazy insurance companies go to great lengths to defend their clients, who lied to workers about the risks of asbestos exposure. Some insurers have even resorted to criminality, and destroyed evidence in order to protect their profits. Facing them down in the court system leads to David vs. Goliath kinds of battles, which pit individuals against giant corporations that have vast wealth to help them in the fight.
So, although the manufacturers’ liability for exposing workers to asbestos has been proven again and again in court, they continue to work asbestos into new products and put people who work with these products in harm’s way. As Gary says, “we have a dozen companies nationally who never want to see us in a courtroom again… We know the pitfalls, the problems we’re going to have ahead. We anticipate those, and really do our homework. We reach out to experts, consultants, and figure out, and we do our research way before we file anything.” Which is how the Galiher firm continues to fight the good fight and win.