A U.S. District Court judge recently sentenced a Rochester, New York property developer to probation, community service, and a fine for violations of the federal Clean Air Act. Additionally, the defendant was ordered to pay restitution to the victims harmed by his reckless disregard for public safety by exposing employees to asbestos.
The industrial property where the asbestos exposure took place was adjacent to a residential neighborhood with a school bus stop. The defendant was sentenced to two-year probation, 150-hours of community service, and a $15,000 fine.
Authorities Raid Asbestos-Contaminated Warehouse
The case began in December 2011 when authorities investigated the property in question on a complaint from someone working at the facility. An inspector from the New York State Department of Labor, Asbestos Control Bureau investigated the property and found a number of individuals, including a minor child, working in and around asbestos without any protection or precautions.
The defendant allegedly told the workers to cease cooperation with the inspectors, leave the property, and lock the gates behind them. However, before the inspectors left they took with them material which later tested positive to be asbestos.
Agents from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation later obtained search warrants and secured the property to conduct a full investigation and seize evidence. While on the scene, authorities came across 90 bags of asbestos in a loading dock.
Inside the warehouse, approximately 150,000 square feet was contaminated by the asbestos. High levels of asbestos were found throughout the building as well as evidence connecting the defendant to is presence on the property.
The investigation determined the asbestos was kept on the property illegally and the workers employed at the site were placed at great risk while doing their jobs. The employees revealed they were paid in cash to remove asbestos from a dumpster on the property because local waste management would not handle the product.
Laws Against Asbestos Exposure
According to reports, none of the workers performing the asbestos removal were trained or certified in the procedure. Furthermore, none of them were provided proper breathing masks or other protective gear to mitigate asbestos exposure. Workers used only simple dust masks while removing the dry, flaky asbestos from the dumpster.
Since 1971, asbestos has been designated a harmful air pollutant by the EPA. Asbestos is known to be directly linked to the development of mesothelioma, a rare and deadly lung cancer brought on by exposure to the dangerous product. The industrial insulation is also known to cause the lung disease asbestosis.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one developed mesothelioma, it may have been directly caused by asbestos exposure. Typical jobs that may result in asbestos exposure include industrial jobs, welding, pipe fitting, and working on ships and shipyards.
For a free consultation about your legal options, speak to one of our mesothelioma lawyers. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could be entitled to substantial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.