Articles Posted in Chemical Exposure Injury

Mary Ann Nichols of Chicago has filed a federal lawsuit against the dietary supplement company NaturMed Inc., which is also known as Institute for Vibrant Living. Her suit alleges that the company violated federal and state advertising laws.

A federal judge decided against dismissing the class-action lawsuit against this company.

In the lawsuit, she accused the company of breaches of warranty and deceptive practices in the advertising of a drink supplement the company manufactures, All Day Energy Greens, after she found it did not achieve statements on the label that claimed it would increase energy and improve digestion.

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In this case a man was rendered unconscious after being exposed to toxic fumes in a large container while he was working inside of it.  Fortunately for this worker, he was rescued by the local fire department. His employer, Dana Container, wound up fighting citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  The administrative law judge and the Occupational Safety Review Commission upheld OSHA’s actions, and Dana then turned to the U.S. Court of Appeals for review. Because Dana has not provided a compelling reason to overturn the commission’s determination, the petition for review was denied.

Dana operates a truck-tank washing facility near the Stevenson Expressway in Summit, Ill. The tanks cleaned at Dana’s facility are long metallic cylinders used to transport products such as ink and latex. After the tanks were emptied at their destination, truckers then brings them to Dana’s facility for cleaning so that they can haul different products without changes.

Before washing a tank, employees drain any residual product from it.  Then employees insert a mechanical spinner that rotates scrubbers from one end of the tank to the other, simultaneously dousing it with soap or solvent (or both).  Then the tanks are given a final rinse of water and blown dry. Most of the time, this process works fine in cleaning the tanks. When it does not work, employees enter the tank and manually clean out the remaining sludge or residue. Because the tank space is confined and may contain chemicals that are hazardous to health, OSHA has promulgated regulations that require companies to enforce certain safety precautions when their employees enter these “permit-required confined spaces (PRCSs).”  29 C.F.R. ¶1910.146.

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Doris Neumann sued multiple companies, including MW Custom Papers LLC, a manufacturer of friction tape containing high levels of asbestos. In her lawsuit, she claimed she developed mesothelioma caused by her son’s clothing as a gas station attendant. He used a friction tape and wound up bringing stray asbestos fibers home, causing her to suffer secondary, or “take-home,” mesothelioma.

In the lawsuit, she claimed that MW Custom Papers knew or should have known the dangers of asbestos and should have warned users and families of take-home asbestos. MW Custom Papers moved to dismiss, asserting that take-home mesothelioma was not reasonably foreseeable under the Illinois Supreme Court rule found in the decision Simpkins v. CSX Transportation, Inc., 2012 IL 110662, 965 N.E.2d 1092 (Ill. 2012) and that MW could never know who the users and family members were and thus could not possibly warn them of the dangers of asbestos.

The motion was granted by the U.S. District Court judge in Chicago: The court concluded that it could not assess whether the injury was foreseeable and remanded the case so that the plaintiff could amend the complaint. Ultimately, the Illinois Supreme Court did not undertake the four-factor analysis and did not address whether a duty could exist as a matter of public policy, as the [5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals] has held.

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Joseph Sondag was alleged in this lawsuit to have been exposed to asbestos dust from drywall tape manufactured by Tremco when he worked as a plasterer from 1957 to 1983. In 2007, he was diagnosed with pleural plaques and interstitial fibrosis.

At trial, Sondag’s treating physician, Dr. Al Rossi, testified that these conditions were probably caused by on-the-job exposure to asbestos. However, Dr. Rossi did not diagnose Sondag as suffering any symptoms from this condition.

According to Sondag’s wife, Phyllis, and their daughter, he suffered from shortness of breath. But he was an ex-smoker and was 82 when the case was tried. There was no expert testimony that the pleural plaques and interstitial fibrosis were symptomatic.

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A Pennsylvania jury found that benzene is a defective product whose exposure contributed to the development of cancer of the blood and bone marrow, otherwise known as acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).

In the years 1973 to 2006, the plaintiff, Louis DeSorbo, worked with printing solvents and inks that contained benzene.  He routinely cleaned various parts and areas of the printing presses and tools. On Jan. 21, 2013, DeSorbo, in his mid-50s, was diagnosed with AML.

He filed a lawsuit against U.S. Steel claiming that under the theory of product strict liability and design defect and failure to warn and claims of fraudulent concealment and recklessness, the company was liable for his development of AML. There were other companies also named as defendants. The claims against those other entities were either dismissed or resolved for terms that were not disclosed.  Those other entities were out of the case before the start of this trial.

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In a recent workers’ compensation case, a bus mechanic who was diagnosed with lung cancer was told his illness was caused by exposure to diesel exhaust. The ruling in that case sent alarms out that the burning of diesel fuel has caused widespread worker injuries to those breathing diesel fumes.

Diesel fuel, also known as No. 2 oil, is a heavier product of the refined crude oil. It is widely used in machinery, small engines, trucks, forklifts and buses.

Those exposed to diesel fumes include children on school buses, as well as employees working in confined spaces in warehouses.

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In a U.S. District Court in South Carolina, a federal judge granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant Crane Co. in an asbestos claim. The family of Thomas C. Dandridge, now deceased, brought a claim against Crane for negligence, negligent failure to warn, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, strict tort liability, fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of post-sale duty to warn, wrongful death and loss of consortium.

In the years 1965 to 1976, Dandridge worked as a pipefitter at Coppersmith at the Charleston, S.C., Naval Shipyard where he was exposed to asbestos while working with and around various asbestos-containing products that included products used in valves manufactured and sold by Crane.

In the Estate of Dandridge lawsuit, it was alleged that Dandridge was exposed to asbestos contained in flange gaskets used to link Crane valves to pipelines.

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In a lawsuit against ExxonMobil Corp., four individuals claimed injury and death because they were exposed to benzene and other hazardous chemicals when they worked as rubber workers, tire builders and final finish laborers at a tire manufacturing facility.  The cases were brought by the families of these deceased workers for their wrongful deaths and survival claims. In the circuit court, the claims were dismissed on summary judgment being timed-barred. This case was filed in Wisconsin and the plaintiffs appealed to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

In the lawsuit that was filed, the four individuals also claimed that they suffered personal injuries and died as a result of their exposure to benzene and benzene-containing materials. 

It was determined by the trial judge that the statute of limitations began to run for all claims at the latest on the decedents’ dates of death and that the complaint, which was filed more than three years (statute of limitations in Wisconsin), after those dates was time-barred because the three years had passed.

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