New Plea Deal Urged in California Asbestos Exposure Case

by Sokolove Law

Three California men heading to prison for exposing high school students to asbestos could have their sentences reduced in a new plea agreement, the Merced Sun-Star is reporting.

As this blog noted, Rudy Buendia III, Patrick Bowman, and Joseph Cuellar were supervising a Merced County renovation project, which lasted from September 2005 to March 2006. In an apparent attempt to cut costs, the trio enlisted more than nine high school vocational students to remove materials containing asbestos from the center. The students did so without  the proper protective equipment or safety measures.

Exposure to asbestos can lead to serious and fatal illnesses, including mesothelioma, an incurable cancer. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The three men, former executives with the nonprofit program Firm Build, were expected to spend two years in prison after pleading no contest last spring to violating state and federal asbestos laws, according to the Sun-Star.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill was to sentence the men on the federal charges in August, but the sentencing was postponed due to restitution issues. However, O’Neill admitted that he felt “a bit concerned” about sending the three to prison after hearing about their contributions to church life and civic activities, according to the Sun-Star. He urged federal prosecutors to explore sentencing alternatives with the defense attorneys before the next hearing.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to financial compensation. A successful mesothelioma lawsuit can help pay medical bills and other expenses. Contact Sokolove Law today to get a free case evaluation.

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