Laborers are filing lawsuits against New Yorks Nassau Coliseum, alleging they faced long-term asbestos exposure while working in the facility.
The plaintiffs will seek from $500 million to $1 billion from 21 defendants, including Nassau County (which owns the facility), the New York Islanders ice hockey team, and the company SMG, which manages the Coliseum, according to Long Islands Newsday (subscription required). The plaintiffs (who include electricians, carpenters, plumbers, and mechanics) allege these defendants failed to protect them from the asbestos, which was in various locations in the arena.
About 20 percent of the plaintiffs have been diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses, while the rest are fearful that they will become sick in the coming years. Asbestos diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma can take as long as 40 years to develop.
One suit involves a heating and air conditioning technician who died of lung cancer in 2010. His widow seeks compensatory damages and punitive damages for his wrongful death. She claims that Nassau County officials knew that the Coliseum was built with asbestos containing materials. However, they, along with the other defendants, did not tell employees over fears of losing revenue from cancelled events. The suit alleges that Coliseum workers were not informed about the asbestos even after his death, nor were they given protective gear or safety training.
Other plaintiffs include those who worked full-time or as contractors for SMG and the Islanders. According to an asbestos attorney representing the victims, 140 people have filed notices of claims that the defendants failed to protect them from asbestos. Filing a notice of claims is a preliminary step necessary before filing suit against the government. The asbestos lawsuits will all be filed by midsummer, and the court will most likely consolidate the claims into a class action.
Nassau Countys attorney claimed he was highly skeptical that there is any merit in these claims.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and have developed an asbestos-related condition as a result, an asbestos lawsuit could help. Monetary compensation from a lawsuit can help pay medical bills and other expenses. Call Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation.