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Researchers at a Scottish university are developing a new laser system that will help physicians distinguish between cancer tumor cells and healthy tissues, and allow them to remove the cancerous cells while leaving healthy surrounding tissue intact. To help further this research, the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has bestowed the project’s leader, Prof. Jonathan Shephard a 1.2 GBP grant and will further collaborate with the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust to develop the new system for brain cancers.

As one consultant surgeon at the Leeds trust noted, “the precision of a laser combined with imaging to accurately discriminate cancer from normal tissue will greatly enhance the ability of surgeons to completely remove cancers with minimal side-effects for patients.”

According to Shephard, the “laser system can remove cancer cells in a way that restricts damage to the surrounding, healthy cells – within the width of a human hair. Because the laser pulses are so short, there is no time for heat to burn the surrounding tissue, as happens with current surgical tools.” Shepherd’s team is also working to develop a flexible, optical fibre system that can be used to target and remove cancer cells on an even smaller scale than the current technology allows.

A Washington state court recently issued a strong penalty against a defendant in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit for what the judge determined to be willful withholding of evidence by the defendant and false statements by defense counsel. In determining that the defendant, PACCAR, Inc. willfully violated rules of civil discovery procedure to produce evidence in the asbestos cancer lawsuit, the Pierce County Superior Court ruled that the defendant must pay the plaintiff $150,000, as well as attorneys fees for the time the plaintiff’s lawyers spent litigating the matter over the evidence in question.

The evidence in question in the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit concerned blueprints of trucks manufactured by a subsidiary of PACCAR, Kenworth, which contained information such as what companies supplied brakes, engines, axels, clutches, etc. Additionally, the blueprints, known as “build sheets” would contain information regarding the part’s model number and the totality of the information from the buildsheets would be of value to the plaintiff’s case that he developed mesothelioma from asbestos containing parts manufactured by the defendant and/or its subsidiary, which the victim’s employer purchased and maintained.

In response to the plaintiff’s request for build sheets of Kenworth vehicles, the defendant and its counsel responded by asserting that the build sheets could only be searched if the plaintiff could provide a vehicle information number for the truck make in question, that there were no records of to what entities the Kenworth trucks were ultimately sold, and that the build sheets were kept on microfiche and it would be too burdensome to hand search each build sheet. The court subsequently ordered PACCAR to turn over 10 randomly selected build sheets so that the plaintiffs and the court could have a better understanding of the information contained therein.

A recently published study by researchers at the University of Hawaii has uncovered a possible link between carrying a particular genetic mutation and developing mesothelioma, particularly if the individual is exposed to asbestos fibers. The research is part of ongoing research by oncologists and geneticists into the role that genetics may play in developing the rare form of cancer and creating personalized treatment plans for patients in order to prolong their rates of survival.

According to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, individuals who inherit a pair of mutated so-called “BLM” genes are more likely to develop mesothelioma cancer. People with the BLM gene are often affected by Bloom Syndrome, which exhibits such characteristics as a short stature, rash over the nose and cheeks, and an immune deficiency. Approximately one in every 900 individuals born with Bloom Syndrome only have one of the mutated BLM genes, which means that they produce only half of the normal amount of BLM protein and thereby increasing their risk of developing various forms of cancer.

The research in this study followed a previous discovery by the team’s lead researcher which showed that mutations to the BAP1 gene could lead to an increased susceptibility to developing cancer. Furthering the research into the BLM mutation, the National Institutes of Health has awarded the research team a grant in order to study a population in Nevada at risk of exposure to asbestos and other harmful mineral fibers.

A federal appeals court has upheld a record-setting mesothelioma cancer verdict in North Carolina, finding no fault with the manner in which the trial court oversaw the case or the legal reasoning for refusing to reduce the multimillion dollar jury verdict. With the three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the $32.7 million dollar verdict in the lower federal district court in North Carolina, the award constitutes the largest ever single-plaintiff and largest ever mesothelioma cancer lawsuit verdict in the state’s history.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, originally filed in U.S. District Court for the District of North Carolina, the plaintiff’s husband worked at the Firestone Tire Plant in Wilson, North Carolina, from 1975 until 1995. The plaintiff alleged that during his employment at the Firestone tire plant, her husband was exposed to asbestos fibers in insulation pipes in the curing room of the plant, where he would change tires in the tire mold presses. The curing room of the tire plant contained 120 steam operated tire presses, connected to multiple steam pipes which the plaintiff asserted were insulated with asbestos-containing materials.

While the defendant, Covil Corporation, did not manufacture or supply the tire presses, the company did admit to supplying hundreds of feet of the asbestos-containing insulation materials which covered the pipes from these machines. Upon the victim’s passing away from mesothelioma cancer, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death mesothelioma cancer lawsuit against Covil Corporation, claiming that the company’s asbestos containing pipe insulation was responsible for her husband’s mesothelioma cancer diagnosis.

A U.S. federal judge recently handed down an important ruling in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit that will allow four expert witnesses to testify on behalf of the plaintiff who claims that her husband developed a serious form of lung cancer as a result of negligence on the part of the deceased’s former employer. Attorneys for defendant Air & Liquid Services Inc. had sought to exclude the expert witnesses’ testimony in the case, in what can only be interpreted as an attempt to skirt liability for the harm caused by their client.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the deceased victim worked in the engine room aboard the USS Tuscaloosa in 1974 and was exposed to asbestos containing components during that time. As a result of his exposure to deadly asbestos fibers while serving his country, the deceased developed a rare and deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma.

One of the expert witnesses the plaintiff had intended to call at trial was to testify that during the 1960s and 1970s, ships like the USS Tuscaloosa would have their asbestos-containing gaskets removed and replaced during routine maintenance. Further, the removal and replacement of these asbestos gaskets would often produce airborne asbestos fibers, which would settle on horizontal surfaces  in densely packed machinery spaces and that enginemen like the deceased would work on these types of systems.

The sister of a mesothelioma cancer victim recently filed an asbestos cancer lawsuit against a Nebraska city, alleging that her sibling was exposed to asbestos while working at a now shuttered multi-purpose arena located in the municipality. According to the mesothelioma lawsuit, the victim passed away in February 2020 after a battle with a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos found in the Pershing Center where she worked for decades. She alleged that the town of Lincoln knew or should have known that the asbestos threat existed.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, the victim worked at the Pershing Center from 1974 through 2014 and was there during periods where maintenance crews removed or replaced asbestos insulated pipe coverings. The lawsuit further claims that the asbestos ceiling insulation would fall from the ceiling during concerts and due to patrons touching the ceiling. The mesothelioma cancer lawsuit alleges that the city of Lincoln was negligent when it failed to properly supervise contractors who worked on the facility or conduct proper tests on the materials present in the environment.

The lawsuit on behalf of the deceased’s estate seeks to recover costs for the victim’s medical bills and burials costs, as well as damages for her pain and suffering while living with her mesothelioma cancer diagnosis before her passing. While nothing can undo the loss of a loved one, the law gives the surviving family members the right to continue claims on the deceased’s behalf and seek justice for the harm caused by negligent parties.

A New York City jury recently handed down a substantial verdict to a woman who blamed the maker of the talc-based cosmetics powder for her cancer diagnosis, claiming that the company knew for decades about the risk of asbestos exposure but provided no warning to her and other consumers about the dangers. The Manhattan jury awarded the plaintiffs, the victim and her husband, $325 million in actual and punitive damages, finding that defendant Johnson & Johnson acted with negligence and recklessness by knowingly selling a carcinogenic product to the public.

The $325 million awarded consisted of $25 million in actual damages of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, as well as a tremendous $300 million in punitive damages for what the jury deemed to be especially reckless conduct on the part of Johnson & Johnson. However, the judge hearing the case ultimately cut the jury’s award down to $15 million in actual damages and $105 million in punitive damages but gave the plaintiffs the option of requesting a new trial solely for the damages portion of the case. Ultimately, the plaintiffs opted to accept the reduced award.

The asbestos cancer lawsuit alleged that the plaintiff developed mesothelioma cancer from years of using asbestos-contaminated Baby Powder manufactured and sold by pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiff filed her lawsuit back in 2017 after receiving her mesothelioma diagnosis, which is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos and commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding vital organs such as the heart and lungs and abdominal cavity.

The Missouri Supreme Court recently rejected a bid by the world’s largest pharmaceutical and cosmetics producer to overturn a monumental award in an asbestos cancer lawsuit handed down by jurors back in July 2018. The Court refused to hear an appeal stemming from a June decision from the state’s appeals court that upheld liability on the part of defendant Johnson & Johnson along with a substantial portion of the multibillion dollar verdict handed down by the jury in the trial court.

In 2018, a Missouri state court jury handed down $4.69 billion to 22 plaintiffs in a lawsuit that alleged Johnson & Johnson’s iconic Baby Powder caused their cancer diagnosis, many of which were terminal. At trial, the jury was presented with evidence which showed that Johnson & Johnson knew as far back as the 1970s that the talcum powder used for its Baby Powder product was contaminated with asbestos fibers but chose not to disclose any warnings on the labels of its products for consumers.

The $4.69 billion verdict was eventually reduced by the Missouri state appeals court down to $2.12 billion but still upheld the jury’s verdict, saying that it was reasonable to infer from the evidence that Johnson & Johnson “disregarded the safety of consumers” for the sake of profit, despite knowing its talc products caused ovarian cancer. With the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case, Johnson & Johnson’s last option to throw out the award lies with an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which the company vowed it would do after news broke of the decision.

A Louisiana state jury recently handed down a substantial verdict in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit brought by a former longshoreman who claims he developed a serious form of lung cancer from years of asbestos exposure during the 1960s. The New Orleans jury found that defendants Ports America Gulfport Inc., Cooper T. Smith Stevedoring Co. Inc. and South African Marine Corp. were all responsible for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma diagnosis, and awarded the victim $10.3 million in total compensation for his injuries.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in Louisiana Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma from unloading raw asbestos from ships docked at the wharfs he worked from 1964 to 1968. The plaintiff further alleged that he came in contact with asbestos through second hand exposure from the work clothes his father would wear while working as a longshoreman himself.

The lawsuit alleged that the defendants knew or should have known about the dangers posed by asbestos and provided warning to the plaintiff and other workers. Instead, the lawsuit alleges, the defendants chose to ignore such information or condoned the concealment of such in order to continue with their business practice of selling asbestos and asbestos-containing products. As a result of the defendants’ negligence, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma and suffered serious injury.

An Ohio appeals court recently revived an asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by the widow of a mesothelioma cancer victim who claimed that he developed a rare and deadly form of lung cancer from years of exposure to asbestos while working with the Bendix brakes. After a Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas granted the defendant, Honeywell International, Inc., summary judgment in 2017, the Eighth Appellate District in Ohio agreed with the plaintiff that the lower court erred in its decision and that there were genuine issues of fact about the case for a jury to decide in a court of law.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, the plaintiff’s widow alleged that her husband developed mesothelioma from using Bendix brake products developed by Honeywell International while working as a supervisor for a company that manufactured intercity buses. The plaintiff presented testimony from the victim’s coworker that stated the victim spent significant time in the area of the facility where brake work was being done, where asbestos fibers from the defendant’s Bendix brakes were present in the air. Further, the plaintiff claimed that her husband was exposed to asbestos fibers during the time he worked in the area of the facility where Bendix brake linings were grounded.

Fortunately for the plaintiff, the Ohio appeals court agreed that the case should be heard by a jury and gave the victim a chance for his case to be heard in court, six years after his passing in 2014. The case is yet another example of the lengths to which gigantic companies will go in order to skirt liability for the harm caused by the products they knew or should have known could pose a health risk to workers and the general public.

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