Morton Avoids Paying Asbestos Clean-up Costs

by Sokolove Law

Determining who the defendant or defendants are in an asbestos lawsuit can be difficult—and one of the reasons why many people turn to an experienced asbestos attorney when they decide to file a lawsuit.

Case in point: The legal issues regarding who should pay for the cleanup of an asbestos-contaminated industrial site near Trenton, N.J.

As reported by Law360 (subscription required), site owner D.S.C. of Newark Enterprises paid $1.5 million to cover the costs of cleaning up the three-acre complex after a 2005 inspection by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found more than 10 tons of material containing 7 percent asbestos sitting in open boxes.

However, D.S.C. hit Morton International and two other companies in 2009 with third-party liability claims after the U.S. Department of Justice sued D.S.C. for improper asbestos disposal at the site.

D.S.C. had leased the site to Friction Division Products Inc. in 1974, a company formerly owned by Thiokol Chemical Co. (Morton International is a successor company to Thiokol). D.S.C. argued that Morton therefore was partially responsible for the asbestos cleanup costs, or approximately $23,900, according to Law360.

Last week, a New Jersey federal judge ruled that Morton does not have to pay clean-up costs since D.S.C. failed to prove that Morton either directly disposed of the asbestos or ordered Friction to discard the waste improperly, according to Law360. As a result, Morton didn’t violate the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

While the liability issues involved in asbestos litigation may sometimes be murky, one fact about these cases remains clear: many of the companies that manufactured asbestos-containing products knew about the health risks of this material but failed to protect the public. Exposure to asbestos causes malignant mesothelioma, an aggressive and fatal cancer that has claimed the lives of thousands of Americans.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation from the companies responsible for your asbestos exposure. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free case consultation.

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