Monthly Archives: November 2011
Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in O’Neil v. Crane Co. How the CA Supreme Court decides the case will likely either expand or limit the duty of the product manufacturers to warn about the hazards of replacement parts that others made but that are then incorporated by the purchaser in the manufacturer’s original product.
O’Neil is a case about a plaintiff’s exposure to asbestos-containing gaskets and packing materials used in and around Crane Co’s valves and pumps, which the Navy incorporated into the steam propulsion system aboard the USS Oriskany. The plaintiff had served on the Oriskany while he was enlisted.
Though the pumps and valves delivered to the Navy originally incorporated asbestos-containing gaskets and packing, all parties agreed that by the time plaintiff served aboard the Oriskany, the original asbestos packing and gaskets had been removed and replaced with packing and gaskets manufactured by third parties. Nevertheless, the plaintiff argued the pump and valve manufacturers had a duty to warn him regarding the hazards of asbestos.
The Court did not appear to sit well with the proposition that the pumps and valves could be deemed defectively designed if the pumps and valves were “asbestos neutral,” and could function just as well in other systems utilizing non-asbestos containing materials.
This may be a large focus for the court with regard to assigning a duty to warn about replacement parts made by others only if the replacement part is identical to the original hazardous part, and the replacement part is essential to the function of the defendant’s product. We await the decision, which will come out in about two and a half months from today.
A New Jersey widow, who recently settled for an undisclosed amount, spoke out about the death of her husband. According to court records, Randy Veraldo worked from 1978-85 as a parts handler at a Teterboro, N.J., warehouse. The job required him to unpack nautical clutch plates delivered on a near-daily basis from various suppliers. The clutch plates were said to contain asbestos, a mineral once widely used in the U.S. as a cheap insulating material but now known to cause.
Ms. Veraldo filed her lawsuit as the executrix of the estate of her late husband. He died in 2009, seven months after being diagnosed with periotoneal mesothelioma cancer.
An important takeway from this is the fact that someone who lost her loved one to a slow, but deadly disease found justice — even after many years of exposure at work to asbestos.
When I hear “major renovation,” I think of dust and hammering for months. This is likely what’s going on as part of the overhaul of the five-bedroom apartment at Kensington Palace in London, where Prince William and his new wife, Kate Middleton, will soon settle down.
However, first thing is first. Along with significant updates (the last renovation of the apartment was 1960), “Early indications suggest that large quantities of asbestos will have to be removed, as well as work on the heating and hot water systems and electrical wiring. The extent of the work needed to turn the apartment back into a home is not yet known, but it is expected that the apartment will not be ready for occupation until at least the middle of 2013.” This was a statement made to People magazine.
The presence of asbestos in William and Kate’s future home is gaining worldwide attention, especially given the rumors swirling about regarding the possibility that Kate is pregnant.
Back in 1960, during the last major renovation of Kensington Palace, asbestos use was widespread and nothing controversial. In fact, asbestos was the material of choice for flooring, ceiling tiles, and insulation for the Palace.
Back then, asbestos was a first choice as a material due to its heat and fire retardant properties. Before 1980, in construction projects and products manufactured, asbestos was incredibly popular.
Now, however, with the Palace renovation, many more people are learning about the importance of proper abatement and containment of this lethal substance.
While replacing equipment at Sunny Hill Elementary School in Carpentersville, IL (outside of Chicago), workers identified asbestos in the glue that was used to mount whiteboards.
Officials say the asbestos at Sunny Hill Elementary in Carpentersville was “most likely” not airborne and students were not exposed to it.
“The good news is that the asbestos was not airborne at any time and can be completely and safely contained by putting up new drywall and repainting the four classrooms,” Superintendent Tom Leonard said in a letter to parents.
Thanks to the alert and well trained crew who identified the asbestos in time, to contain the dangerous substance before endangering the health of the students and staff at that school.