Toxic Tort / Asbestos Litigation
Thirty years ago, asbestos litigation involved suits against large construction companies such as WR Grace, roofing shingle manufacturers, and flooring manufacturers. Most of those original defendants filed for bankruptcy in the 1990s, and then the asbestos suits were brought against second-tier manufacturers such as small boiler manufacturers, insulation and plaster suppliers, electrical asbestos wire manufacturers and their distributors, and even the “Big 3” automakers for asbestos found in brake pads. Most of those defendants also filed for bankruptcy protection in the last ten years.
Thus, asbestos litigation is now often a determination of which asbestos-containing products were produced or distributed by which non-bankrupt companies and whether such companies still have insurance coverage for products used decades ago.
Liability is usually allocated on the basis of the worker’s exposure time and proximity to the asbestos-containing product, which is often determined through the worker’s testimony (if alive) and job history, as well as archival invoice records and deposition transcripts of persons who previously worked at such work sites. Because asbestos can stay latent in the body of a worker for decades but then manifest itself in the form of the almost-always-deadly mesothelioma—a form of cancer of the lung—asbestos litigation is still ongoing and just as serious as ever.
McCollum Crowley has decades of experience in asbestos litigation with several attorneys who have represented boiler manufacturers, electrical manufacturers, valve and gasket manufacturers, insulation manufacturers and insulators, distributors, and even hardware stores/lumber yards in Minnesota and North Dakota district courts, Minnesota and North Dakota supreme courts, Minnesota federal district court, and Minnesota workers’ compensation court.