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Category: Mesothelioma

Image of a dull industrial site, representing exposure to asbestos in various industries and locations and how the experienced and compassionate attorneys at Nemeroff Law Firm can help when you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma cancer due to asbestos exposure.

by Rick Nemeroff, Mesothelioma Trial Attorney

What would you do to keep the doors of the courthouses open to victims of negligent corporations – especially victims who have precious little time to live? How would you respond to U S Chamber of Commerce lobbyists who want to inject junk science into legitimate lawsuits filed in Utah? How hard would you fight to prevent the rules of evidence from being tilted in favor of companies and groups favoring unneeded tort reform? Who would you turn to for help when you have only 10 days to fight a last minute piece of bombshell legislation that would turn Utah courts on their heads and impose out-of-state laws and procedures on a Utah legal system that already works?

If you answered, I’d fight with all my strength to prevent injustice and I’d turn to my brothers and sisters in both UAJ and AAJ to stand with me, then read on…

Ten days before the 2016 legislative session was to conclude, and without any advanced warning, a vile piece of tort law legislation that would substantively change Utah civil procedure and decades of case law was introduced and immediately set for a hearing with less than 36 hours notice. This proposed law, if passed, would have (1) upended the process by which certain asbestos cases could be filed, (2) stripped away the privacy rights of Utah citizens, (3) overruled a trial judge’s discretion with respect to ruling on the relevance of evidence, (4) created unprecedented legal defenses for manufacturers, premises owners, etc , (5) impacted the medical practice and procedures of Utah doctors and so much more This legislation was dreamed up by the U S Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC and conferred all its supposed “benefits” on out-of-state interests at the expense of dying Utah citizens, furthered a national agenda of tort reform and created a “solution” in search of a non-existent “problem ” The legislative abomination I am describing was HB403 and it was deceptively titled Asbestos Litigation Transparency Act

As an asbestos lawyer for over 24 years, I should note that the only “transparency” for which I have found it necessary to fight was the “transparency” of getting defendants to honestly and fully answer discovery as part of lawsuits that I pursued on behalf of my dying (or dead) clients and their families, of corporate representatives of the defendant companies to answer questions honestly and fully in depositions and/or at trial, and to expose the lawyer made/company paid for asbestos “science” that confounds logic and simply furthers the defensive plan as set forth by tobacco companies years ago to make “doubt” their product, not truth

I came to learn about HB403 the day after it was introduced, which was also the day before it was set for a hearing in committee My first phone calls and emails were to Brook Millard, UAJ and AAJ to assist in formulating a plan of attack – not just a plan of defense

On the day set for the bill’s first hearing, I arranged to fly up my client, William Dale Peterson (and his wife) who was suffering from mesothelioma, and whose case we had filed in Salt Lake City just a little over a year ago His presence at the hearing put the bill’s lobbyists from both the U S Chamber of Commerce and the Utah Civil Justice League into a tight spot – they were prepared to roll over us, not respond to an actual asbestos victim Unprepared to deal with opposition they did not expect, the committee and bill sponsor (Rep Brad Wilson) postponed the hearing to a date uncertain And thus began the trench war

As in all “civilized” wars, a parley was had between the warring sides before blood was to be spilled Appearing for the good guys were Brook Millard, Alan Mortensen and me, and representing the bad guys was Mark Behrens from Shook Hardy & Bacon (Washington, D C ) for the U S Chamber, and Justin Stewart for the Utah Civil Justice League Kudos to Brook and Alan for their barely controlled righteous indignation at being hoodwinked by the Utah Civil Justice League with this bill Despite having previewed and prepared for the bills each side expected to address in the current legislative session, the Asbestos bill was kept hidden from view Alan and Brook made it clear that UAJ would not sit quietly or still when surprised like this and would fight to kill any bill introduced so surreptitiously

By contrast, having seen other (failed) versions of this bill introduced in a handful of other states, and having worked with colleagues in many of those states on the same issues being proposed here, I prepared for the inevitable “negotiations” that would follow – and thus, I (with the approval of the UAJ Legislative Committee) began a dialogue with the U S Chamber lobbyist, who was in complete control of the bill

Over the next 10 days, with the full and unwavering support of UAJ and AAJ, we went on the offensive We would not stop the Asbestos bill outright, but we made certain that the bill as introduced would never get passed In this fight, I was supported and motivated daily by Brook Millard, Alan Mortensen, Eric Mann (UAJ Executive Director), Dan Hinkle (AAJ State Affairs Counsel), Ben Somberg (AAJ Press Secretary), Alex Formuzis (Environmental Working Group), UAJ members Scott Lythgoe, Steve Sullivan and others, plus the invaluable guidance of our own legislative advocates: Steve Barth and Nancy Sechrest And since I am not a law firm of one, I have to thank Barrett Naman from my office, who was instrumental in working with me and our clients to get everyone to the Capitol and have their voices heard Together we were able to bring enough pressure to whittle the bill down to a level that had minimal impact on the rights of victims in the State.

When HB403 eventually had its committee hearing, I was fortunate to be able to have three of my Utah clients testify against the bill, one from Salt Lake City and one from St George (both living with the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma), as well as another from Salt Lake City, whose wife had succumbed to her malignant mesothelioma just days before the bill was introduced This client came with his grieving family to speak for the dead For those of you inclined to hear their stories, here’s the link to the House Business and Labor Committee hearing on HB403 that took place.

So, how did this all end? About as well as could be expected, given that the bill’s sponsor is in House leadership and the committee on which he sat was considering the bill I initially just wanted to kill the bill, and with the support of UAJ that was a real possibility But equally possible and more likely was a bigger fight next session, where our leverage was less sure and the outcome less certain With the support of UAJ, I negotiated a “compromise” bill with the lawyer representing the U S Chamber of Commerce (because this was and always will be THEIR bill), which effectively neutered the bill’s harshest parts and left in place some procedural hurdles that were considered manageable Is this bill good for Utah citizens? Not in a million years Does this bill only help the companies sued in asbestos lawsuits and impose needless burdens on victims of asbestos diseases who have precious little time to live? That’s exactly what the bill’s sponsors wanted and got.

Here’s my take-away from my first foray into Utah lawmaking: first and foremost, be a UAJ member and be an AAJ member You are never alone when you are part of these groups Second, even in a state like Utah, where the voices of trial lawyers are often outshouted by our opponents, you can make a difference by showing up to fight, and even more of a difference when your clients show up too.

Thanks to all who provided guidance and support You have my thanks and will have my support in the years to come.

Original article from Utah Association of Justice – Utah Trial Journal – Volume 39, No 2 – Summer 2016

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Rick Nemeroff, Esq. is the founder of The Nemeroff Law Firm that has offices in Park City, UT; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; New Orleans, LA; and Pittsburgh, PA. The Nemeroff Law Firm is a nationally recognized trial firm dedicated to helping individuals and families who suffer from asbestos related mesothelioma, harmful pharmaceuticals, and catastrophic personal injuries or death as a result of the wrongful or negligent conduct of others. The Nemeroff Law firm’s website is www.NemeroffLaw.com.

Rick is a member of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates, (ABOTA), the American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Utah Association of Justice (UAJ) and other state and local bar associations.

Rick resides in Park City, UT with his family where he is on the Park City Medical Center Foundation Board and is the Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Park City Day School.

Image of a dandelion lying on the road, representing the desolation of losing a loved one to mesothelioma and how the Nemeroff Law Firm has successfully obtained verdicts and settlements nationwide, including for New Orleans mesothelioma victims and their families.

On Friday, October 7, 2016, a New Orleans jury returned a verdict awarding $12 million in favor of Donald Mueller and against Ameron International and others for Mueller’s asbestos-related mesothelioma. Mueller died of the disease, leaving behind a wife and daughter.

Nemeroff Law Firm Gets New Orleans Mesothelioma Verdict for Victim’s Family

After a two-week trial, during which the jury heard from world-renowned asbestos experts Dr. Richard Lemen (a former Assistant United States Surgeon General), Dr. Richard Kradin (pathologist), and Dr. William Longo (materials scientist), the jury found that Ameron’s asbestos-containing Bondstrand Pipe was a substantial contributing factor in causing Donald Mueller’s mesothelioma and death. Ameron called no witnesses in its defense.

New Orleans Mesothelioma Case a Benchmark for Asbestos Victims

According to lead counsel, Mesothelioma Attorney Rick Nemeroff of the Nemeroff Law Firm, “the jury got it right when they found that Ameron should be held responsible for putting asbestos product sales ahead of research, testing and warning. It’s a shameful tragedy that Donald Mueller didn’t live to see his day in court and to receive the justice he deserved—and while his widow and daughter were there to receive the verdict, it was a cold feeling without Donald present.”

Louisiana Mesothelioma Victim Was Survived by Family

Donald Mueller was diagnosed with asbestos-related mesothelioma in October 2015 after being exposed to asbestos beginning in the 1950s until the early 1980s while working at a variety of locations in Louisiana. Donald lost his battle with mesothelioma in January 2016, just days shy of his 90th birthday, leaving behind his wife of 67 years, Elizabeth, and his daughter, Pam.

This $12 million dollar verdict is just one of the many mesothelioma legal success stories in New Orleans by Rick Nemeroff, his law firm, and his co-counsel, Landry and Swarr. Two of the team’s recent mesothelioma verdicts were for $12 million and $7.5 million.

Assistance Available for Mesothelioma Victims Nationwide

Are you or a loved one a mesothelioma victim due to asbestos exposure? Are you concerned you may have an asbestos-related condition like mesothelioma? The Nemeroff Law Firm serves mesothelioma victims nationwide, including those in New Orleans and surrounding areas. For a free consultation, call us at 866-342-1929 or complete our online contact form.

More than 50 Speakers and 500 Attendees Set to Explore Current Trends Driving Asbestos Litigation at the 2013 National Overview & Outlook

Rick Nemeroff, owner of The Nemeroff Law Firm and leading representative of mesothelioma victims, was selected to return as co-chair and moderator for the 2013 Asbestos Litigation Conference: A National Overview and Outlook. The event gives thought leaders in the asbestos field an opportunity to discuss how trends in litigation may impact future cases.

The event, hosted by Perrin Conferences, brings asbestos insurance, legal, corporate and scientific leaders together to review the direction and climate of asbestos litigation. Topics for discussion include emerging and specialized claims, recent verdicts, decisions and events, as well as strategies on litigating cases in particular states and leading jurist’s perspectives.

“We’re proud to have Rick Nemeroff chair our National Asbestos Conference once again,” said Lynnsey Perrin, founder of Perrin Conferences. “Rick’s vast experience in this highly competitive field and enviable record of results place him at the forefront of asbestos litigation.”

Practicing since 1993, Nemeroff has established himself as a leading trial lawyer, combining compassion with aggressive litigation skills to fight for individuals and families who have been harmed by the actions of negligent corporations. He is a sought-after speaker and presenter for all aspects of asbestos litigation.

“I’m honored to return as co-chair and moderator for this year’s conference,” said Nemeroff. “It’s a great opportunity for us, as representatives of victims and their families, to discuss industry and legal developments and what those might mean for our clients.”

Established in 2009, the National Asbestos Litigation Conference offers a vibrant and open forum to help attendees understand the trends currently driving asbestos litigation and what the future will present. The conference will be hosted at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco on Sept. 16-18.

NEW ORLEANS – The Dallas-based Nemeroff Law Firm is announcing a verdict on behalf of a Louisiana man who was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma following decades of working around asbestos-containing materials at two manufacturing plants.

Orleans Parish jurors deliberated for half a day on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, before returning the verdict in favor of 66-year-old Thomas M. Kenney of St. Tammany Parish. Jurors agreed that defendants Rexam Beverage Can Company (formerly American Can) and asbestos product manufacturers John Crane Inc. and Haveg Inc. were negligent and responsible for exposing Mr. Kenney to dangerous levels of asbestos.

The jury found that Mr. Kenney, a Slidell resident, was exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos fibers while he worked at an American Can facility in New Orleans between 1964 and 1976, and while working as a pipefitter and machinist for Tenneco in Chalmette between 1977 and 1988. John Crane Inc. made and supplied asbestos gaskets and Haveg Inc. supplied asbestos-containing piping to Tenneco while Mr. Kenney was employed there.

Mr. Kenney, who is married with three grown children, was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in July 2010. Mesothelioma is an incurable form of cancer caused exclusively by asbestos exposure.

“Thomas Kenney worked as a loyal and valuable employee who deserved to be able to do his job in a safe environment with warnings on the products he handled,” says his attorney Rick Nemeroff, co-founder of Nemeroff Law Firm. “This is an important verdict that will go a long way to helping make sure that Mr. Kenney and his family can get the support they need to deal with his grave health problems.”

The trial team representing Mr. Kenney was led by Mr. Nemeroff and firm trial attorney Barrett Naman, as well as local counsel Mickey Landry and Frank Swarr of New Orleans-based Landry & Swarr.

With offices in Dallas, Houston and Pittsburgh, the experienced trial attorneys of the Nemeroff Law Firm fight for individuals and families who have suffered from harmful pharmaceuticals, mesothelioma, and catastrophic personal injuries or death as a result of the wrongful or negligent conduct of others. The firm secured two of Pennsylvania’s largest courtroom awards in 2010, according to The Legal Intelligencer. For more information, visit www.nemerofflaw.com.

For more information about the verdict, please contact Robert Tharp at 800.559.4534 or Robert@androvett.com.

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.