Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by inhaled asbestos fibers. It is estimated that around 3,000 new mesothelioma cases are diagnosed every year. Usually, mesothelioma develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the internal organs. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is an aggressive and fatal cancer. Because of mesothelioma’s aggressive and deadly nature, early detection and treatment are quite important.

However, before beginning treatment after a mesothelioma diagnosis, getting a second opinion is important. Even though most patients begin treatment immediately after a first diagnosis, experts advise people to get a second opinion before starting treatment. It is also vital to get a second opinion if one goes to the doctor believing they have mesothelioma, only to be told they have another illness. Receiving a second opinion on a diagnosis, can among other things, help an individual;

  • Eliminate the possibility of a misdiagnosis,

Dealing with mesothelioma can be extremely difficult. Sadly, many mesothelioma patients suffer from stress. Unfortunately, stress can negatively affect a person’s physical and mental well-being. Among other things, stress can:

  • Cause mental health issues
  • Increase the risk of stroke

A family that lost a loved one after she developed mesothelioma through second-hand asbestos exposure will have their day in court after a Louisiana court denied a wallboard company’s request for summary judgment. The deceased (who, for purposes of this article, will be referred to as Mrs. J) died of mesothelioma at the age of 75. Before she died, Mrs. J filed a lawsuit against several companies, accusing them of negligently exposing her to the toxic mesothelioma-causing substance known as asbestos. Though most of the companies the deceased took to court compensated her, one particular company, Hopeman Brothers, Inc., chose to file a motion for summary judgment. The company filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that Mrs. J had no proof that she had fallen victim to asbestos exposure because of their (Hopeman Brothers Inc.) products.

After Mrs. J died, her daughter continued the lawsuit. Mrs. J’s daughter maintains that her mother developed mesothelioma because of being exposed to asbestos through her grandfather, who used to come home with asbestos-contaminated work clothes. During the years that Mrs. J’s father worked at Avondale Shipyard, he worked in close proximity to Hopeman’s operations involving asbestos-contaminated wallboard. At that time, Mrs. J was still a child, and whenever her father got home, she would shake out his asbestos-contaminated work clothing, clean it, and clean up the asbestos that had accumulated on the floor.

Even though Hopeman accepted that some of their shipbuilding products were asbestos-contaminated, they argued that because Mrs. J’s father only worked on vessels that were pre-launch, he could not have been the one who took home the asbestos fibers and dust that led to his daughter developing mesothelioma. Hopeman claimed that their wallboard was only cut after a ship had been launched, meaning Mrs. J’s father, who worked on pre-launch vessels, could not have been exposed to asbestos. However, Mrs. J’s attorneys managed to present witnesses who said that wallboard was cut pre-launch at Wet Dock No. 2, where Mrs. J’s father had spent a tremendous amount of time cleaning up dust left behind. The witnesses also testified about the huge amount of dust that was generated, confirming that Mrs. J’s father would have carried asbestos fibers home on his work clothing.

People have been filing mesothelioma and asbestos-related claims for more than three decades now. Over the years, asbestos companies that recklessly exposed people to asbestos have been forced to pay plaintiffs huge amounts of money. Because of the huge payouts, some companies started filing for bankruptcy. Generally, companies began filing for bankruptcy to avoid liability. Most of the companies that chose to file for bankruptcy were not able to avoid liability. This is mainly because, as part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, companies were required to establish trusts that would fund victims of asbestos exposure. This is where asbestos and mesothelioma trust funds originated from.

What are Asbestos and Mesothelioma Trust Funds?

Asbestos trust funds, asbestos bankruptcy trust funds, or mesothelioma trust funds are trust funds created on behalf of bankrupt asbestos companies with a possibility of having an asbestos suit filed against them. Many companies set up trust funds years ago after going bankrupt. They created the trust funds to pay out compensation to victims who had already filed their claims and any individuals who filed claims in the future. Generally, the purpose of asbestos and mesothelioma trust funds is to put aside money for current and future asbestos claims.

A mesothelioma lawsuit is a civil lawsuit filed against a company or against companies responsible for asbestos exposure by a mesothelioma patient or surviving family members. By filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, a patient or family members of a deceased person can obtain compensation for lost income, pain and suffering, medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of consortium, and other mesothelioma-related damages. A mesothelioma patient is eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. On the other hand, the estate or surviving family members of a deceased mesothelioma patient is or are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

So, whenever an attorney files a mesothelioma lawsuit, they do so on behalf of:

  • a mesothelioma patient; or

Across separate settlements, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commits to accelerate and strengthen asbestos risk reevaluation under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). On October 13, 2021, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an organization dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure, said that the organization and its allies had reached settlements with EPA regarding the toxic mineral that causes mesothelioma. These settlements come after a heated legal battle over a contentious risk assessment. ADAO and its allies have been pushing for a comprehensive second risk evaluation for asbestos for some time now and are glad they struck these settlements with the EPA. According to the president and co-founder of ADAO, Linda Reinstein, a more robust and comprehensive evaluation will better document the massive harm asbestos continues to cause in America.

As per the deal, the Environmental Protection Agency will finish the second risk assessment by December 1, 2024. The second risk evaluation is expected to address the deficiencies in the first risk evaluation. In an agreement, the EPA agreed to, among other things;

  • Expand its second risk evaluation to include all six asbestos fiber types instead of only chrysotile asbestos.

According to NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, repair and re-occupation of buildings damaged by Hurricane Ida is essential to the public health, economic well-being, and safety of New York City. In an attempt to help NYC repair damage caused by Hurricane Ida, Mayor Bill De Blasio, in early September, declared free asbestos removal services in New York. Emergency Executive Order No. 235, signed on September 7, 2021, retroactively dated the fee waivers back to September 1, 2021. On top of waiving fees for asbestos removal, Mayor Bill De Blasio waived the 7-day advance notice requirement for asbestos projects. For an applicant to be deemed eligible for suspension of the fees, they only needed to submit a certification that such work was due to storm damage. Normally, NYC requires submission of asbestos abatement permits and workplace safety plans one week before work starts. Emergency Executive Order No. 235 took effect on September 7 and remained in effect for five days.

The waiver of asbestos fees was meant to relieve an additional burden for property owners who were already dealing with storm damage. NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio recognized that property owners would require permits, inspections, document filings, and applications associated with repair work as part of the recovery after Hurricane Ida. So, in an attempt to help property owners, the mayor allowed the Department of Environmental Protection to waive fees related to asbestos removal. On the other hand, the Department of Buildings was given the power to waive fees associated with construction document filing fees, electrical permits, special fees, and permit filing fees.

More Tools and Recommendations for Communities Cleaning up After Hurricane Ida

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that begins in the lining of the chest, lungs, or abdominal cavities. According to the American Cancer Society, the leading cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a highly toxic and naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction and other industries until the late 1990s.

After a mesothelioma diagnosis, an individual may feel devastated and overwhelmed. Usually, after a mesothelioma diagnosis, people do not know what to do. The many questions that run through an individual’s mind after they get diagnosed with mesothelioma often make it hard for a person to take positive steps to cope with the diagnosis. Therefore, it is important for an individual to focus on the actions to take after a mesothelioma diagnosis so they can be able to move forward. Indeed, there may be a lot a person needs to do after a mesothelioma diagnosis. However, it helps to focus on one step at a time.

The order can vary, but, among others, below are five crucial steps to take after a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Whenever a hurricane season approaches, people within hurricane-prone regions of the United States of America prepare by stocking up on food supplies, gasoline resources, water, and materials to strengthen and protect homes. While stocking up on all of these is important, preparing to deal with the risk of asbestos exposure once a storm has passed is equally important. Unfortunately, many people do not know about the threat of asbestos exposure after a hurricane.

Why is Asbestos a Threat After a Natural Disaster?

Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that is heat-, electricity-, and corrosion-resistant, was used throughout most of the 20th century in countless construction materials. These materials are considered safe as long as they remain in good condition and undisturbed. When asbestos-contaminated materials degrade over time, they may become damaged due to a number of forces such as renovation and unexpected natural disasters like hurricanes. Natural disasters such as hurricanes can damage asbestos-containing materials in buildings in ways that lead to asbestos exposure among homeowners, first responders, and cleanup crews.

According to the CDC, one factor that makes a person more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 is the presence of an underlying medical condition. Because of weakened immune systems, cancer patients are among those at high risk of serious complications from a coronavirus infection. Mesothelioma, to be specific, is an extremely aggressive form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure and with limited survival despite systemic therapy. Fighting mesothelioma depletes a patient’s energy and nutrients, and this worsens a patient’s body’s ability to fight COVID-19. Mesothelioma treatments can also weaken a person’s immune system and increase the risk of COVID-19 complications. Further, COVID-19 is much more deadly in those individuals over the age of 65, and most mesothelioma patients are seniors. Most mesothelioma patients are seniors because, from the first asbestos exposure, it can take decades for an individual to be diagnosed with mesothelioma. If, for example, an individual gets exposed to asbestos for the first time at the age of 20, they might end up being diagnosed with mesothelioma even at the age of 70.

Recent studies have found that for every five patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) one contracted COVID-19. According to one particular study presented at the IASLC 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer, approximately one in five patients with MPM at a Barcelona hospital contracted the coronavirus during the pandemic. To study the effect of COVID-19 infection on individuals with MPM, Dr. Susana Cedres of Vall d’ Hebron University Hospital and the Institute of Oncology, Barcelona, Spain, analyzed medical records of 38 patients with MPM. Dr. Susana gathered clinical data such as comorbidities, oncological background, demographics, and COVID-19 illness status. Upon completion of the study, Dr. Cedres found that;

  • Of the 38 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma at the institution in this pandemic era, seven (18%) were diagnosed with COVID-19 infection by a positive RT.PCR and
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