San Diego, CA (PRWEB) June 08, 2013
Resource4thePeople announced today its support of an Italian court’s decision to sentence a Swiss billionaire to 18 years in jail for his role in an asbestos scandal in which prosecutors said more than 2,000 workers died.
Details of the court’s decision were reported in a June 3, 2013 Reuters News dispatch, which said the court’s ruling could set a precedent for work-safety lawsuits in Europe.*
Resource4thePeople also said that while such large-scale criminal prosecutions are rare in the United States it supports all local, state and federal authorities who fully prosecute asbestos offenders in the interests of worker safety.
Rescource4thePeople also said its national network of attorneys will continue accepting claims from consumers who may have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or other asbestos-caused cancers and are seeking compensation for medical and other expenses.
Reuters reported that, “Stephan Schmidheiny, found guilty of negligence that led to more than 2,000 asbestos-related deaths, was also ordered to pay millions of euros in damages to local authorities, victims and their families by an appeals court in Turin.”
The news agency said Schmidheiny is the former owner of Swiss building material maker Eternit and that prosecutors had said Schmidheiny intentionally failed to install measures to prevent workers' health being affected by asbestos at Eternit's Italian plants, which closed in 1986.
“More than 6,000 people - including former employees and residents of the four towns where the plants were located - are seeking damages in the case, Reuters said.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer most often caused by exposure to asbestos and is diagnosed in between 2,000 to 3,000 Americans each year.
“Unfortunately, because mesothelioma is a rare cancer it has not drawn much public attention,” said Resource4thePeople. “However, the disease has such a long latency period that more and more victims are being diagnosed in their 50s, 60s and 70s."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, for instance, in an April 24, 2009 study,** reported that “Despite regulatory actions and the sharp decline in use of asbestos, potential exposure to asbestos continues, but most deaths from mesothelioma in the United States derive from exposures decades ago.”
The study also reported that “the annual number of mesothelioma deaths is still increasing, and future cases will continue to reflect the extensive past use of asbestos. New cases also might result through occupational and environmental exposure to asbestos during remediation and demolition of existing asbestos in buildings if controls are insufficient to protect workers and the surrounding community.”
Resource4thePeople is finding that the government officials have been correct in anticipating growing numbers of asbestos victims.
“There has been a recent surge in requests for complimentary consultations from those who, tragically, have been diagnosed with this deadly, aggressive cancer for which there is no cure," said Resource4thePeople.
Mesothelioma develops after victims unknowingly inhale microscopic particles of asbestos which lodge in the linings of the lungs, heart or abdominal organs and eventually generate cancer cells which form tumors or spread to other parts of the body.
In providing referrals to lawyers experienced in the area of asbestos litigation, Resource4thePeople notes that legal representation for asbestos victims has over the last several decades provided billions of dollars of compensation for loss of loved ones, medical and funeral expenses, loss of wages and pain and suffering.***
"One of the factors repeatedly raised in asbestos litigation is the question of negligence on the part of manufacturers, distributors and employer," said Resource4thePeople ."Many mesothelioma victims were completely unaware that they were being exposed to this toxic material and unaware of the life-threatening consequences.
“This is one of the reasons that the stiff sentence handed down by the Italian justice system is so important in increasing international awareness of this situation.”
Resource4thePeople also notes that over the last few years the average amount of compensation awarded by juries or reached in out-of-court settlements has continued to increase. These figures were recently documented in an investigative report published May, 11, 2012 by Reuters News Service:***
"No central registry keeps track of asbestos lawsuits filed yearly or their outcomes," Reuters said. "A tabulation of jury verdicts and settlements, based on an average of all asbestos-related lawsuits reported in Westlaw Journal Asbestos, a Thomson Reuters publication, found that the average award was $6.3 million in 2009, $17.6 million in 2010 and $10.5 million in 2011 -- amounts much greater than what lawyers say was the norm more than a decade earlier.
"Clearly, mesothelioma and other asbestos-related payouts persist at levels companies and their insurers never expected. Insurers have been adding hundreds of millions of dollars to their asbestos-claim reserves. Travelers Cos, in its annual report for 2011, echoed its peers when it cited a "high degree of uncertainty with respect to future exposure from asbestos claims."
Resource4thePeople notes that in its Jan. 7, 2013 Report to the Nation about cancer statistics the National Cancer Institute, which says there are about 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the country each year, reports encouraging news about decreases in cancer death rates.****
However, while some of the most common cancers such as lung, colon and rectum, female breast and prostate showed declines, mesothelioma was not among the cancers mentioned as showing an improvement in decreasing death rates.
Resource4thePeople also notes that health officials cite one of the reasons that mesothelioma has not shown a decline in death rates is that the cancer has such a long latency period.
There is no cure for mesothelioma and in most cases by the time the cancer is diagnosed it cannot effectively be treated by common cancer approaches such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.