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Mesothelioma Lawsuit Settles for Former Painter and Ship Worker

03-30-2010 11:44 AM CET | Politics, Law & Society

Press release from: Weitz & Luxenberg

New York Mesothelioma Law Firm

New York Mesothelioma Law Firm

Earlier this month, a Greek maritime worker who came to the United States in 1971 to follow in his father’s footsteps here as a commercial painter, received a settlement check for $466,000 related to an ongoing lawsuit against asbestos-product manufacturers whose construction materials caused him to develop mesothelioma cancer.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lung lining that has no cure and is contracted almost exclusively by job-related asbestos exposure. The disease kills workers in the construction, automotive and maritime industries.

This plaintiff, a 61-year-old retired painter who worked for more than 30 years scraping, plastering and painting building interiors in Brooklyn and Queens, was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year.

Sitting side-by-side with his attorney at a recent deposition hearing, he described in detail the dangerous job-site experiences that exposed him to deadly levels of asbestos since 1973, when he began painting professionally.

He outlined in detail a horrific chore he performed for a Brooklyn apartment building complex; that is, spray painting (with asbestos-based spray paint) the ceiling and walls of the building’s boiler room, as well as the asbestos-wrapped steam pipes connected to the building’s massive boiler system.

The force of the spray gun ripped the white cloth asbestos wraps off the steam pipes, scattering toxic asbestos fibers throughout the confined area. “When the spray hit it,” he said, “the pieces came off and the insulation broke.” This created the possibility of exposure to asbestos fibers contained within the insulation material.

Asbestos hazards on every flank

For many years, asbestos was a common ingredient in the materials professional painters used. Spackling, plaster and taping compounds – even certain paints - contained toxic asbestos, which was added as a paint filler or used as an ingredient in textured and “fireproof” paints.

For decades, asbestos was used in hundreds of other building products, as well, including, drywall, plumbing and electrical insulation, and floor and ceiling tiles. Professional painters actually increased their likelihood of a toxic asbestos exposure by working alongside workers of other trades who used these building products.

Inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis and asbestos-related lung cancer. Notably, the risk of lung cancer for painters is 40 percent greater than that of the general public, according to the International Association for Cancer Research.

Scrape, plaster and paint

Despite the daily (and dusty) regimen of scraping old paint off walls and mixing powdered plaster compounds, painters were rarely provided masks or respirators before the 1980s.

Contractors who hired commercial painters would often skip that important detail to save money, no matter how inexpensive the cost was to protect their workers. Asked if he ever used a mask or a respirator during the first 10 years of his career as a painter, he replied, “No.”

Did you ask your boss to supply you with a mask or respirator? “Yes.”

And what did he say? “It was too expensive.”

How much did the masks cost? “At that time maybe a dollar, 50 cents.”

Weitz & Luxenberg is a New York law firm that represents New Yorkers and others who have been diagnosed with asbestos cancers such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. Workers and their loved ones can get more information about the risk of on-the-job asbestos exposure at
For general information on the work of asbestos lawyers, visit
For a free case review from Weitz & Luxenberg mesothelioma lawyers, visit

Weitz & Luxenberg
700 Broadway 3rd floor
New York, NY 10003

Media contact:
Jason Wentworth
1-800-438-9786 ext. 5645

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