Recently, Corvallis Gazette-Times reported that an Oregon land developer pleaded guilty to a single count of negligent endangerment for releasing large amounts of asbestos into the air, endangering site workers and the surrounding community.
The developer, who was attempting to redevelop a sawmill in Albany, OR, admitted to permitting an unlicensed contractor to demolish buildings on-site, causing the airborne release of asbestos close to residential neighborhoods.
He admitted he should have been aware that asbestos was present in the buildings at the former saw mill site. He also made the mistake of entrusting the work to an unlicensed contractor. Our Illinois mesothelioma attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm warn those residents of Albany, Oregon of potential asbestos exposure.
A judge sentenced the man to three years of probation, 300 hours of community service and five months of home confinement. He was also required to pay close to $1.6 million as compensation to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for removing and getting rid of over 4 million pounds of asbestos-containing material from the site.
The asbestos was discovered more than eight years ago, when a fire destroyed a number of the buildings in the saw mill property. Firefighters noticed debris that seemed to have asbestos in it and reported the matter.
An Oregon Department of Environmental Quality investigation informed the landowner of the asbestos-containing material. The accused employed a licensed contractor at that time to get rid of the asbestos, however, work was not finished in any of the buildings.
Three years later, the landowner hired the services of an unlicensed contractor, who, over a period of eight months, crushed, tore down and even chipped the asbestos-containing material.
An assistant U.S. attorney said that the accused was at the site two or three times per week during the illegal abatement. The sawmill site is near a residential area, and copious amounts of asbestos-containing matter were left uncovered, putting all in the surrounding area at risk.
The accused admitted that he should have been aware there was asbestos at the facility. Because of the high costs of proper, legal abatement, the accused resorted to shortcuts that caused the release of considerable amounts of asbestos.
Asbestos exposure victims deserve just compensation and retribution for the severe damage inflicted on them. A controversial bill in Ohio, however, related to claims for asbestos exposure victims was recently submitted to the governor.
The bill intends to curtail duplicate lawsuits pertaining to on-the-job asbestos exposure in a state that has one of the country’s biggest backlogs of such cases. With the passing of the Bill, Ohio would be the first state to introduce such claims restrictions.
A spokesman for the governor said that he intends to sign the measure. The bill calls for workers to disclose all asbestos claims that were previously filed for them or by them, failing which they would face perjury charges.
Those who support the bill hold that the bill would prevent ‘double-dipping’. Asbestos victims have two means of seeking damages: lawsuits against active businesses, and those against trusts set up by bankrupted companies to compensate victims. Those against the proposed bill believe it will hinder legitimate claims.
Legislation to the same effect has been introduced in Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Louisiana and in Congress.
If you or a loved one suffered asbestos exposure, you deserve justice. Contact an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to learn about your rights and obtain maximum compensation.