Asbestos removal class action in Kansas City settles for $80M

28 Oct 2016 by under Legal

Gavel Scales of Justice American flag square 100x100 Asbestos removal class action in Kansas City settles for $80MA class action lawsuit involving a nearly 30-year-old project in Kansas City, Kan., and about 7,500 exposed claimants has been settled for $80 million. Despite being scheduled to go to trial this week, the county ended up reaching an agreement with the group responsible for the asbestos removal, .

The $80 million settlement agreed upon will be divided up with $25 million for attorney’s fees and litigation costs and the remainder for a medical monitoring fund for the claimants. As many asbestos experts know, there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. The medical fund would allow those who were exposed to asbestos from 1983 to 1985 in the Jackson County Courthouse to be eligible for diagnostic tests monitoring their status in case an asbestos-related disease was to occur.

When asbestos fibers become airborne, such as during a removal project, they may be inhaled or ingested by those nearby. Once present in the lungs or abdomen, asbestos fibers can promote the development of lung cancers and other diseases, such as the deadly cancer mesothelioma, which has yet to be cured by doctors.

Filed in 2010, the asbestos class action was filed by two now-former courthouse workers who alleged U.S. Engineering and Jackson County were negligent in their handling of the asbestos removal and failed to prevent the spread of asbestos dust. Nancy Lopez, an administrative assistant to a Jackson County judge during the asbestos removal, died of mesothelioma the same year their lawsuit was filed. Shortly after her death, her family filed a wrongful death action against U.S. Engineering and settled for $10.4 million one year later.

One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Jeanne Morgan, testified about the deplorable conditions at the courthouse during the asbestos removal in a 2014 hearing: “The particles would be all over the papers,” Morgan testified. “The dust from their boots and their work shoes was on the stairway and in the hallways.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Engineering CEO Tyler Nottberg released the following statement regarding the case: “At that time, as always, we complied with relevant industry and regulatory safety standards in the performance of our work.”

Columbia Daily Tribune


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