Oakland, CA (PRWEB) March 3, 2011
Donald Osterberg v. Allied Packing & Supply, Inc., et al.
Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG10515625
In 1949, Donald Osterberg was 18 years of age when he began working as a night shift laborer during the construction of the PG&E Power Plant at Moss Landing, California. Mr. Osterberg swept up dust and debris, often six to 12 inches deep, from asbestos-containing insulation, pipe covering and other asbestos debris left behind from the day's work at the construction site. Mr. Osterberg put dust and debris from various defendants' asbestos-containing products into a wheelbarrow and dumped the wheelbarrow from a platform into a truck below, creating plumes of asbestos-containing dust. The dust covered his clothes and body and made it hard to breathe. J.T. Thorpe & Son, Inc., the remaining defendant at trial, had a contract at the PG&E Moss Landing plant to insulate six 100 foot tall boilers with 170,000 square feet of asbestos block, 71,000 pounds of asbestos cement, and 1000 linear feet of asbestos pipe covering. J.T. Thorpe & Son, Inc. completed the insulation work on three boilers while Mr. Osterberg worked nights in the clean up crew.
Mr. Osterberg was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos-caused cancer, on February 22, 2010. He was 79 years old. Mr. Osterberg endured eight painful pleural drainings to extract liters of fluid from his chest, and 11 cycles of chemotherapy. He was a widower and lived with his son in Fresno, California.
The Kazan firm filed suit on behalf of Mr. Osterberg in May 2010. The trial commenced on January 18, 2011. Evidence at trial showed that J.T. Thorpe & Son, Inc. did not follow California's "Dust Fumes and Vapors" Safety Regulations, and knew that its employees' work of cutting, sanding, mixing and discarding asbestos-containing insulation products released toxic dust into the environment and was inhaled by its workers and others working in the vicinity. The evidence showed that by the 1920's and 1930's the scientific and medical communities and industrial groups knew asbestos dust caused asbestosis and by the 1940s these communities and groups knew asbestos caused lung cancer. Both diseases cause progressive and potentially fatal conditions. The evidence showed that if J. T. Thorpe & Son, Inc. had followed existing California safety regulations by isolating the asbestos work, using wet down procedures, and cleaned up its own debris, it would have protected all workers present from the toxic dust. The evidence showed that J.T. Thorpe & Son, Inc. did not follow these safety regulations and did not warn anyone at the Moss Landing site about the dangers of breathing asbestos dust. After three weeks of trial and the testimony of eight witnesses, but before Mr. Osterberg took the witness stand, the matter resolved to the mutual satisfaction of Mr. Osterberg and defendant. Mr. Osterberg was relieved that the trial was over, and he could concentrate on spending his remaining days with his family in peace. Mr. Osterberg passed away on March 1, 2011 with his family at his side.