A Philadelphia property owner stands accused of using unqualified day laborers instead of licensed professionals to remove asbestos from one of his buildings.
According to The Intelligencer, David Mermelstein, 53, was indicted on five counts of illegal asbestos removal. The federal indictment alleges that from September 2009 to April 2010, Mermelstein hired the day laborers to remove asbestos from a furniture warehouse in Philadelphia. The property had pipes that were wrapped in insulation that contained asbestos.
According to the indictment, Mermelstein hired the workers after learning the cost of proper asbestos removal. He allegedly directed them to remove the asbestos pipe insulation by cutting and ripping it out without using proper safeguards to prevent its release into the air.
If inhaled, asbestos fibers can become lodged in the lungs and other internal organs where they cause scarring and inflammation. This can lead to life-threatening diseases as mesothelioma, a fatal cancer, and asbestosis, a chronic lung disease.
If convicted, Mermelstein could face a 25-year prison sentence and $1.25 million fine the maximum allowed. The case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Philadelphia’s Air Management Services and is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options, please contact Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.