Nemeroff Law Firm Case Changes Pennsylvania Law: Landmark Decision Protects Rights of Occupational Disease Victims
The nationally recognized Nemeroff Law Firm won a major victory for victims of occupational diseases in Pennsylvania. In a landmark decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed a Superior Court decision and recognized an employee’s right to bring a civil action against an employer for a latent occupational disease.
In Landis v. A.W. Chesterton, et al. and Tooey v. A.K. Steel Corp., plaintiffs developed mesothelioma from years of work-related asbestos exposure. Under prior interpretations of the Workers Compensation Act in Pennsylvania, however, Landis and Tooey were unable to seek workers compensation benefits, or file civil action against their employer, because their mesothelioma did not manifest within 300 weeks of the date of last exposure.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the Act did not apply to latent occupational diseases, or diseases that might take years to develop and be diagnosed, and therefore victims were not prohibited from filing a common law claim against an employer.
In its written opinion, the court stated that interpretations should be “consistent with the humanitarian purposes of the Act,” and “resolve in favor of the employee.”
“It is inconceivable that the legislature, in enacting a statute specifically designed to benefit employees, intended to leave a certain class of employees who have suffered the most serious of work-related injuries without any redress under the Act or at common law,” the court wrote.
“This is a major victory for our clients and for victims of occupational diseases,” said Rick Nemeroff, president and founder of The Nemeroff Law Firm. “Mr. Landis and Mr. Tooey, like many employees diagnosed with latent occupational diseases, had no chance for relief from the employers that had exposed them to occupational toxins. This opinion goes a long way toward protecting their rights, and the rights of other employees and their families, who have suffered from negligence or wrong-doing by an employer.”
John Tooey worked as an industrial salesman from 1964 until 1982 and during his employment sold asbestos containing products, which caused him to be exposed to asbestos dust. In December 2007, Tooey developed mesothelioma and died less than one year later. Spurgeon Landis worked for a manufacturer of welding rods from 1946 until 1992 and, during his employment, he too was exposed to asbestos dust. Mr. Landis was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2007 and died in 2012.
“Virtually every other state, except for the state of Louisiana, restricts the rights of victims in these cases,” Nemeroff said. “We hope this humanitarian decision in Pennsylvania will influence other states to take action to protect the rights of those have suffered due to employer neglect or misconduct.”
The appeal was briefed by Roderick S. Marshall of The Nemeroff Law Firm and Brent M. Rosenthal of The Law Offices of Brent Rosenthal, and argued by Robert F. Daley of Robert N. Peirce & Associates.
Rick Nemeroff has consistently proven to his adversaries what can happen when they square off with Rick in court. Rick fights for individuals and families who have been harmed by indifferent corporations. He is a dedicated attorney, and his clients know that they will be represented by a professional who combines compassion and caring with […]Read More Information
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Jennifer loves to win and loves to be on the right side of an argument – giving asbestos victims a voice provides her the opportunity to do both. She derives great satisfaction from helping clients of the Nemeroff Law Firm, and she is dedicated to translating her life-long passion for empowering victims into winning results. […]Read More Information
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Jeffrey A. O’Connell
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Barrett Naman Barrett Naman visit superlawyers.com> Barrett dedicates his practice to working for victims of injustice and fighting corporate entities that value profits over the health and safety of people. His belief that all victims deserve the best and most focused representation drives him to aggressively fight for his clients. Born and raised in Beaumont, […]Read More Information
D. Carl Money has spent his entire legal career fighting on behalf of workers and their families. After law school, he worked as a general counsel in the Texas Legislature where he developed and directed legislative agendas that ensured access to justice for individuals wronged by corporate corruption. For most of the past sixteen years, […]Read More Information
Prior to graduating from law school, Ryan spent four summers as a law clerk with the Nemeroff Law Firm. During that time, he gained valuable practical experience and witnessed first-hand the life changing results that the firm is capable of delivering. After graduating from college, he attended law school on a large academic scholarship. He […]Read More Information
Sidney has 25 years of legal experience working in law firms focused on personal injury and toxic tort litigation. In practice, Sidney has litigated a vast array of cases involving personal injury, asbestos related diseases, complex business litigation and employment discrimination claims. Courage and compassion best describe Sidney’s persona as she is a born fighter […]Read More Information
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