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LibbyMt.com > News > December 2005 > Who hasn’t heard about asbestos?

Who hasn’t heard about asbestos?
by Dawn Ballou, Editor, LibbyMT.com
December 19, 2005

With the recent motion by W.R. Grace lawyers asking that the trial be moved out of Montana because the jury pool is tainted due to extraordinary media coverage of this case, we began to wonder where, if anyplace, could this trial be moved where people haven’t heard about asbestos issues. We live in the technology age, with 24-hour news on CNN and Fox and instant e-mail alerts about news from across the globe. Are people in Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Denver really any less likely to have heard horror stories about asbestos issues in the media, and therefore be less biased than everyone in the state of Montana?

On that note, we did a Google news search to find what kinds of asbestos stories are out in the media on just one day which might be exposing potential jurors across the county to negative publicity about asbestos issues.

Boston, Massachusetts (BostonGlobe.com): Asbestos in aging public schools "Schools of the ‘50s showing their age: Leaks, asbestos cited in report" In this article, a school district in Massachusetts is faced with what to do with maintaining or replacing their aging elementary and middle schools. "Wellesley is already replacing carpets in the schools with tile. But as it does so, it is encountering the added expense of removing asbestos that had been installed before the material's health problems became known. Asbestos is in the ceilings of schools, too, which becomes an issue when crews need to repair roof leaks."

Fort Worth, Texas (StarTelegram.com): Asbestos issues slowing building of new stadium for Dallas Cowboys Fort Worth wants to build a new stadium for the Cowboys. The team hopes to break ground on the $650 million stadium in the spring and be ready to open for the 2009 season. Part of the process involves 138 parcels that have been acquired. "A contractor is continuing asbestos testing and abatement in some houses and apartments, which must be done before a structure can be demolished."

Osaka, Japan (The Daily Yomiuri): Japan requiring real estate agents to disclose asbestos inspection information "The construction ministry intends to oblige property owners and real estate agents to ensure documents containing important information about homes--including condominiums--for sale state whether the properties have undergone an asbestos inspection and, if they were built before 1981, an earthquake-resistance inspection."

Brookfield, Connecticut (brookfieldjournal.com): Four Public Schools Closed After Asbestos Contamination detected. "’"There is no imminent danger,’ said Mr. Granville, who inspected all four public schools in late October. Asbestos monitoring has been a much-discussed issue in the town since 2000 when a grassroots organization first sought a more aggressive monitoring program. In the late spring of 2002 all four public schools were closed after asbestos contamination was detected. Professional contractors cleaned them over that summer. Over the next two academic years random classrooms were air tested at least once every two months. That program was discontinued in the summer 2004 after school officials said that the monitoring had been effective."

New York (ny1.com): Six Buildings to be Demolished as part of Atlantic Yards Project Workers have begun removing and disposing of asbestos in buildings along Atlantic Avenue as part of a plan to develop the area. "Forest City Ratner, the company planning to develop the area, says the structures are unsafe and pose a public health threat." http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?stid=1&aid=55695

Houston, Texas (Houston Chronicle, chro.com): Cooper Industries fined $31 million in asbestos case "Cooper Industries said today that it disagrees with and intends to appeal the verdict in an Abex friction products asbestos case that was announced today in the Dade County, Florida, court where the case was heard. The jury award was $31 million in this asbestos case…The Company reiterated its commitment to vigorously defend asbestos claims, many of which it believes are frivolous or unsupported by the evidence. The company said it remains confident of its position."

Leicester, England (United Press International, upi.com): Man reported dead from asbestos dust "An inquest in Britain says a 32-year-old man died from an asbestos-related cancer after being exposed to his stepfather's work clothes as a child. Barry Welch of Leicester died from mesothelioma, reports the Daily Mirror. The father of three daughters contracted the disease while playing on his stepfather's knee 30 years ago, the inquest was told. Welch's stepfather had worked at a power station where the piping was lagged with asbestos, the report said."

Glasgow, Scotland, UK (The Herald, theherald.co.uk): Fast-Track legislation urged for Asbestos Victims "The Scottish Executive was urged yesterday to fast-track legislation which would finally allow peace of mind – and better compensation – for the families of those who suffer from asbestos-related disease. The plea came from John Greig, a former train repairer who is dying from mesothelioma, the most unpleasant form of the disease. He urged ministers to ensure hundreds of people suffering such illnesses did not have to face the same hideous choice as he does. Mr Greig can expect courts to personally award him compensation of £55,000. How-ever, if he accepts that, it will prevent Mary, his wife, and grown-up son, Graham, from receiving compensation after his death. They could expect to win £93,000 – but only on condition he was not alive to benefit from it."

Belfast, United Kingdom (Belfast Telegraph - United Kingdom): Buildings in Northern Ireland may contain Asbestos "It is estimated that up to half of the buildings in Northern Ireland may contain some form of asbestos. Asbestos was widely used ..."

Washington DC (Washington Times, washintontimes.com): Fix the asbestos trust fund "Asbestos is the longest-running cause of mass tort litigation in US history. Are we anywhere near solving it? To judge by a recent study from a nonpartisan taxpayers' watchdog, the National Taxpayers Union, the disappointing answer is no…"

St. Paul, Minnesota (Pioneer Press, twincities.com): Jury awards $52.5 million from insurer in asbestos case "A Ramsey County jury awarded a $52.5 million verdict this week to a Roseville construction firm that sued its insurance company for failing to defend it against hundreds of injury and wrongful death claims tied to asbestos exposure."

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