Asbestos Safety Violations May Send California Execs to Jail

by Sokolove Law

Three onetime California construction training company executives admitted to exposing students to asbestos during a renovation project. For cutting asbestos safety corners and violating federal law, they each face jail sentences. This underscores how dangerous asbestos really is, and that exposing people to it can be a criminal offense.

The trio is guilty of using at least nine high school vocational students and others to remove asbestos from the Automotive Training Center at Merced County’s Castle Commerce Center. The violations occurred from September 2005 to March 2006, said an article in the Merced Sun-Star, a regional newspaper.

The students and others were exposed to asbestos when they removed and disposed of approximately 1,000 feet of pipe and tank insulation without proper protective measures. The defendants knew the material contained asbestos.

Each defendant pleaded guilty to one felony count of violating the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants. The men face between 24 and 27 months in prison as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. The nonprofit company they managed, Firm Build, is now defunct.

“Exposing student workers and subcontractors at a construction site to hazardous asbestos without any precautions, and doing so in order to cut corners and save money, is more than reckless — it’s criminal,” stated a U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California. “The guilty pleas entered today should stand as a warning that those who disregard environmental laws in the pursuit of profit will be prosecuted and will face prison time.”

The three will be sentenced in federal court in June; they still face state charges in Merced County Superior Court.

Once used in thousands of products, asbestos was phased out in the 1970s. The reduction of asbestos use was the result of the public’s realization that the mineral caused serious illnesses, including malignant mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and have developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-related condition as a result, you may be entitled to financial compensation. A successful mesothelioma lawsuit can help pay medical bills and other expenses. Contact the experienced mesothelioma attorneys at Sokolove Law to get a free case evaluation today.

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