January 11, 2012 – LK has recently filed an asbestos lawsuit in the City of St. Louis, Missouri, on behalf of a retired automobile mechanic and his wife of 52 years. The plaintiff, recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, was exposed to asbestos during the 1950s through the 1980s while performing auto repair work including brake and clutch repair, general automotive repair involving replacement of asbestos-containing gaskets, as well as mufflers lined with asbestos. He was also exposed to asbestos from joint compound/joint cement while performing drywall work on various homes during this time period.

ST LOUIS, Missouri, January 11, 2012 – Levy Konigsberg LLP (“LK”), a national mesothelioma law firm, has recently filed an asbestos lawsuit in the City of St. Louis, Missouri, on behalf of a retired automobile mechanic and his wife of 52 years. The plaintiff, recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, was exposed to asbestos during the 1950s through the 1980s while performing auto repair work including brake and clutch repair, general automotive repair involving replacement of asbestos-containing gaskets, as well as mufflers lined with asbestos. He was also exposed to asbestos from joint compound/joint cement while performing drywall work on various homes during this time period.

Asbestos-containing automotive brakes and clutches are a significant source of asbestos exposure for those involved in automotive repair. Respirable asbestos fibers are released simply in the act of opening a box of asbestos-containing brakes. Filing or grinding of brake linings prior to installation, a common practice with drum brakes releases high levels of this carcinogenic fiber into the air. Likewise, removing old clutches with asbestos linings causes high levels of asbestos dust in the worker’s breathing zone. The use of compressed air to clean out brake and clutch assemblies ensured that asbestos fibers were not only released into one’s breathing zone but stayed in the air for extended periods. Due to the shape and extreme lightweight of asbestos fibers, “re-entrainment” became a serious problem in garages – asbestos dust was blown from (or fell from) vehicles onto the garage floor, where it was then stepped on multiple times before eventually being swept up. These acts caused the asbestos fibers on the floor to be re-introduced into the workers’ breathing zones once again.

Brake and clutch manufacturers tell juries that the type of asbestos used in their products cannot cause disease, and cite industry-funded articles purporting to show that there is no “increased risk” of contracting mesothelioma from working with these products. However, as LK has shown in courtrooms across the country, the defendants’ studies are based on junk science and every independent health organization to study the issue has determined that (1) the type of asbestos found in brakes and clutches is carcinogenic, and (2) exposure to asbestos during automobile repair using methods traditionally common in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in exposure to extremely high levels of respirable asbestos dust. Internal documents of the brake and clutch manufacturers show that some companies knew asbestos was a potentially devastating hazard, yet chose to continue making products with asbestos and did not place warnings on their products out of fear that doing so would reduce sales.

Asbestos-containing brakes and clutches are no longer manufactured or sold in the United States, but as late as 2002 one US company continued manufacturing asbestos-containing brakes for sale in other countries, such as Pakistan and India. Contrary to the general public’s understanding, asbestos has not been banned for all uses in the United States, largely due to industry pressure. Liability concerns in the face of numerous automotive mechanics who became mesothelioma victims, however, have caused companies to turn away from this dangerous substance in favor of substitutes, many of which have been available for decades.

For over a quarter of a century, mesothelioma lawyers at Levy Konigsberg LLP have been among the pioneers of asbestos litigation in America. The firm’s attorneys have been recognized as nationwide leaders in representing the rights of mesothelioma victims and their families. Their clients have received some of the largest mesothelioma compensation verdicts in the country.

For more information about this or other mesothelioma lawsuits, please contact Levy Konigsberg LLP at (800) 315-3806 or 1-800-MESO-LAW (1-800-637-6529), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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