The effects of COVID-19 have been felt across nearly every facet of life in America, and the courts have certainly been no exception. With health and safety protocols limiting in-person gatherings, many individuals seeking justice through the courts have had their hearings and trials seemingly inevitably delayed until the United States is able to bring the virus under control in order to resume our way of life. However, some have been fortunate in that their cases have been able to continue with relatively modest delay, as in the case of a Minnesota factory worker whose trial is finally scheduled to take place in May 2021.
According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in Ramsey County District Court in 2019, the now deceased plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in December 2018, and caused due to his exposure to carcinogenic asbestos fibers from his years of working the the Conwed Corporation’s mineral board plant in Cloquet, Minn. According to media reports, the city of Cloquet has a mesothelioma cancer death rate that is 36% higher than anywhere else in the state of Minnesota, and the rate of diagnosis is up to 70 times higher than the average. The report goes on to state that lung cancer screenings have shown that at least 30% of Condwed’s former employees surveyed have developed mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that usually affects vital organs such as the lungs, heart, and abdominal cavity. Developing the disease is directly associated with exposure to asbestos, a mineral that was once used in a variety of commercial, industrial, and military applications for its heat resistant properties and ability to be molded to fit a variety of uses. Conwed Corporation allegedly used asbestos in the construction of its mineral board products at the Cloquet plant from 1958 until 1974, the time period during which the deceased plaintiff was employed at the facility.