$7.5 Million to California Man from Six Companies in Settlement of Mesothelioma Lawsuit -- Weitz & Luxenberg

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Represented by Weitz & Luxenberg, a former Chico construction worker finds justice after being diagnosed with the deadly asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys say exhaustive detective work led to the discovery of elusive documents linking the defendants to the plaintiff's injury, alleged to have resulted from years of work with asbestos-cement pipe.

Weitz & Luxenberg will go anywhere and do everything to fight for justice for our clients.

A California construction worker who developed a highly aggressive form of cancer after exposure to asbestos has received $7.5 million in settlement of legal claims against six companies that manufactured or distributed asbestos-cement pipe, the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, PC, today announced (docket number 153777, Butte County Superior Court, Chico, Calif.).

The man, 57, whose identity and current city of residence are withheld at his request, sued last August after he was diagnosed less than one year earlier with mesothelioma, an always fatal cancer linked to asbestos exposure, according to court documents.

Weitz & Luxenberg attorney Daniel Wasserberg, Esq., said, "Our client was a construction worker who, in the 1970s and 1980s, helped install underground water and sewer lines. These pipes -- 6 to 48 inches in diameter -- were made of a concrete-asbestos composite material for strength but also for ease of fabrication. The defendants made, sold or delivered them."

The plaintiff's job in part was to cut asbestos-concrete pipes so they could be properly laid and connected beneath public and private streets in and around the Sacramento Valley city of Chico, court documents show.

However, according to the court filing, the task of cutting this particular type of pipe posed extreme health risks.

"Our client performed his work with a gasoline-operated saw," said Brent Zadorozny, Esq., a Weitz & Luxenberg California mesothelioma attorney. "The cuts generated an enormous amount of cement-asbestos dust, which flew in every direction from the saw's whirring blades and engine exhaust blast. This veritable snowstorm of asbestos dust was at times so thick you couldn't see the person standing three feet away from you."

By the end of each workday, the plaintiff was covered from head to toe in a thick layer of asbestos dust, said Stephen Healy, another Weitz & Luxenberg California mesothelioma attorney and the author of a law textbook on asbestos litigation.

Asbestos is a mineral once widely used in the U.S. as an ingredient in the manufacture of more than 3,000 consumer and industrial products, including shipboard thermal insulation, automobile brake pads, and home roofing and siding products. However, inhalation of "asbestos dust and particles is known to cause malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, other cancers, asbestosis, and other life-threatening health problems that typically surface decades after exposure," explained Healy.

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the thin membranes lining organs in the chest (pleura) and abdomen (peritoneum), Healy said. "Mesothelioma is closely linked with asbestos; the only known and scientifically established cause of malignant mesothelioma is from asbestos exposure," he continued. "Malignant mesothelioma is generally fatal within eight to 16 months of initial onset of symptoms."

In the litigation just settled, the defendants -- two from Southern California, the others from out of state -- contended there was no asbestos exposure because their products were not delivered to the construction sites where the plaintiff worked or at the times he worked there, court records show.

The Weitz & Luxenberg California mesothelioma lawyers countered with documents they uncovered indicating that the pipes at issue were in fact delivered where and when the plaintiff worked, said Benno Ashrafi, Esq., head of Weitz & Luxenberg in Los Angeles.

"As so often happens in these kinds of cases, the key to eventually prevailing is solid detective work," Ashrafi said. "It's a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack because the evidence is often buried way down deep somewhere within thousands and thousands of pages of records. Weitz & Luxenberg happens to be exceptionally good at hunting down information we hope will tip the scales of justice in favor of our clients."

The trial originally was to be held in Los Angeles, although the injury occurred in and around Chico. "Los Angeles was where most of our client's expert witnesses were," explained Ari Friedman, Esq., a Weitz & Luxenberg Los Angeles office California mesothelioma attorney who also worked on the case. "However, despite our objections, the defendants were able to have the trial be moved to Chico, more than 400 miles to the north. In the end, this did nothing to prevent us from fully pressing our case. If anything, the relocation handed us yet another opportunity to demonstrate that Weitz and Luxenberg will go anywhere and do everything to fight for justice for our clients."

About Weitz & Luxenberg:

Founded in 1986 by attorneys Perry Weitz and Arthur Luxenberg, Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., today ranks among the nation's leading law firms. Weitz & Luxenberg has secured more than $6.5 billion in verdicts and settlements for its clients. The firm's numerous practice areas include: asbestos and mesothelioma, defective medicines and devices, environmental pollutants, accidents, personal injury, and medical malpractice. Victims of accidents are invited to rely on Weitz & Luxenberg's more than 25 years of handling such cases -- begin by contacting the firm's Client Relations department at 1-800-476-6070 or at clientrelations(at)weitzlux(dot)com and ask for a free legal consultation. More information: http://www.weitzlux.com.

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Dave Kufeld
Weitz & Luxenberg P.C.
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