A global manufacturer of sustainable and high-performing glass based products, Pittsburgh Corning Corporation (“Corning”), was forced to pay a multi-billion dollar asbestos lung cancer settlement last year. A personal injury trust fund valued at $3.5 billion, according to GlobeNewswire, was established to resolve the asbestos claims. The company emerged from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection recently, after receiving protection since 2000.
Corning makes products for the building, energy, and industrial markets. The historic case that has spanned two decades came to a quiet conclusion early last year. From 1964 to 1972 Corning made a pipe insulation named “Unibestos” that contained significant amounts of asbestos.
Several victims came forward after developing asbestos-related lung cancer and other diseases. These included pipefitters, manufacturing workers, as well as building occupants, among others. The company was named as a defendant in asbestos-related lawsuits and had defended and resolved 200,000 claims. Many of the cases began before 1996. In 2000, Corning sought bankruptcy protection when it realized defending and settling the additional 235,000 asbestos-related claims still pending would exhaust financial resources well before a resolution was sought. Many of the original plaintiffs from the lawsuits have since passed.
Asbestos Class Action Suits
A class action lawsuit is a claim for damages that one or more people bring to court on behalf of a larger group of victims with the same complaint. The court must certify the class in order for the lawsuit to proceed. The class action legally binds the plaintiffs together, protects their interests, and spreads the legal costs across the many people in the group who have similar claims. A person suffering from asbestos-related lung cancer is free to join a class action lawsuit or opt out and seek the claim on his or her own.
Cases like Corning’s clearly show the complexity involving asbestos-related lung cancer litigation. Victims do have choices. Thousands of plaintiffs may file a lawsuit separately, jointly, or become part of a class-action lawsuit. Since each victim who suffered and/or died from mesothelioma may have gone after different levels of damages in proportion to medical expenses and suffering, the distribution of the funds after a settlement has been reached remains a complicated process. Generally, a person pursuing a claim individually will likely receive monetary compensation more quickly than someone who has joined a class action lawsuit.
Lung cancer claims the lives of thousands of Americans each year as a result of exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos. The most common symptoms of the disease include:
- Chronic, continued chest pains;
- A persistent cough that worsens over time;
- Repeated bronchitis or pneumonia;
- Hoarseness, tightening in the chests, or shortness of breath;
- Unexplained loss of appetite or weight loss;
- Extreme exhaustion; or
- Inflammation of the neck and face.
Typically, people are exposed to asbestos by inhaling the toxic fibers while in an environment where the substance has been disturbed. This may include mining and processing asbestos, installing asbestos insulation or making products that contain asbestos. When an older building is demolished or renovated, asbestos fibers can also be disturbed. Asbestos fibers may also be swallowed, such as in drinking water that has passed through asbestos cement pipes. Family members and loved ones of those exposed to asbestos at the workplace can also experience secondhand exposure at home by contact through contaminated clothes or skin.
Lung Cancer Attorneys
As a nationally recognized law firm, the lawyers at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC are commited to zealously advocating for their clients. These knowledgeable mesothelioma litigation attorneys have decades of experience representing victims of asbestos exposure across the nation. Call (212) 397-1000 today to schedule your initial case evaluation.
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