Kansas Mesothelioma Lawyer

Kansas (KS) Asbestos Information:

Kansas is a primarily agricultural state. Generally, the mortality rate of asbestos victims is lower in Kansas than that of the nation at large; in the two decades preceding the 2000 U.S. census during which the population of the state increased slightly from 2.36 to 2.68 million people, 360 patients died from asbestos disease. Mesothelioma victims outnumbered those suffering from asbestosis by a margin of approximately two to one.

Asbestos Exposure Locations

The Environmental Working Group reports that Farmland Industries, Frontier Oil, and the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Company were three job sites at which employees were commonly exposed to asbestos.

In 2004, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment supervised an asbestos abatement project at the Farmland Industries ammonia plant located in Lawrence. Over the course of several months, about 16,600 linear feet was removed from pipe surfaces and an additional 8,500 square feet was taken out of tanks, vessels and exchangers that were used in the production of ammonia.

Asbestos was also a concern at the cooperative’s Coffeeville facility.

A recent study in Puerto Rico indicated that asbestos exposure is a serious risk for power plant workers; 13% of workers who were x-rayed showed some degree of asbestos scarring. Therefore, it should come as little surprise that the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Company should be listed as a major exposure site. The plant itself is located in Burlington, a small town of fewer than 3,000 people.

Despite the plant’s listing as an exposure site, however, there do not yet appear to have been any fatalities among the company’s employees; the reactor has only been online since 1985. The use of asbestos-containing materials was legal at the time (and still is), but there has probably not been enough time for mesothelioma symptoms to have developed. In addition, mesothelioma is a rare condition; not all who are exposed to asbestos fibers will develop this form of asbestos cancer.

County-by-County Statistics

The most asbestos-related deaths between 1979 and 1999 were recorded in Shawnee County, in which the state capitol and most populous city Topeka is located. Thirty-five patients succumbed to mesothelioma, versus 17 for asbestosis. Sedgwick County, where Wichita is located, was second with a total of 45 asbestos-related deaths. Of these, 35 were from mesothelioma, continuing the pattern in which deaths from mesothelioma substantially outnumber those from asbestosis.

The only counties in which this trend was reversed were Butler, Leavenworth and Riley Counties.

Although more people who are exposed to asbestos develop asbestosis than malignant mesothelioma, the death rate from asbestosis is usually substantially lower. The reason is that asbestosis, while serious and incurable, is not malignant. If caught early enough and if the patient is removed from the asbestos environment, the progression of asbestosis can be arrested with the patient able to live a reasonably normal life.

This is not true of mesothelioma, which is aggressive and invariably fatal; most who are diagnosed with this particular form of cancer die within 18 months, on the average.

Natural Asbestos Deposits in Kansas

Although located in the center of the Great Plains, far from the geologically more active Rockies or complex geology of the Appalachian Range, there are three places in the eastern part of the state in which natural deposits of asbestos (chrysotile) asbestos occur. Two of these sites are located approximately 35 miles northwest of Topeka amidst a cluster of small farming communities between U.S. Highways 77 and 75. The third is in the area of the town of Parsons in southeastern Kansas, about 20 miles north of the Oklahoma state line.

Kansas (KS) Asbestos Cancer & Mesothelioma Treatment Centers

Today, between 25 and 30% of all Americans will get some form of cancer during their lifetimes. There are many reasons for this, including the modern lifestyle and the poisons that have been put into the environment – of which asbestos is a prime example. The number of clinics and hospitals that specialize in oncology have increased in response to the growing number of patients.

Kansas (KS) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:

There does not appear to be significant mesothelioma litigation in the high courts of the state of Kansas. A search through the Kansas Federal District Court records for any asbestos personal injury litigation or Kansas mesothelioma lawsuits turns up no results. This may indicate that Kansas mesothelioma cases are settled primarily out of court or in lower court cases which are not appealed. There is known to be some related litigation in the state, including several lawsuits filed in 2007.

For example, in February, 2007, a Kansas mesothelioma lawyer working on behalf of the estate of Robert Briggs filed an asbestos-related wrongful death lawsuit in Madison County Circuit Court. Briggs died from mesothelioma in March, 2005, after working for Owens Corning and Jay Wolfe Pontiac in Kansas City for many years. The complaint named 94 defendant corporations as responsible parties, claiming that many of them knowingly exposed Briggs unnecessarily to asbestos fibers and products containing asbestos. Briggs’ family is seeking punitive damages as well as compensatory damages.

One of the most recent Kansas mesothelioma lawsuits was filed in late May, 2007, by Kansas mesothelioma lawyers working for a man named Hubert Johnston. Johnston had worked as a service station attendant and insulator in various locations for over forty years (from 1946 to 1990) and was exposed to asbestos during that time. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March, 2007, and promptly filed suit against over 90 defendants, alleging that his condition was foreseeable by them since the products he was working with should have been known to contain asbestos. The lawsuit claimed that the defendants included asbestos in their products even when adequate substitutes were available. Johnston also alleged that the defendants provided no or inadequate instructions regarding safe methods for working with and around asbestos. His lawsuit asked for at least $250,000 in damages for negligence, conspiracy, willful and wanton acts, and negligent spoliation of evidence.

Some of the similarities in these two 2007 cases point to trends in mesothelioma lawsuits in Kansas. For example, because there are over 90 defendants in each lawsuit, it can be assumed that in Kansas it is possible to sue multiple parties in for their part in asbestos exposure. This is unlike many other states in which only the last party to cause exposure is held responsible. Furthermore, both parties are seeking punitive damages as well as compensatory damages. After the results of these cases are determined by the courts, it will be easier to see the Kansas courts’ stance on awarding damages; however, it currently appears that it is at least possible to obtain both punitive and compensatory damages.

Those interested in filing a Kansas mesothelioma lawsuit or hiring a Kansas mesothelioma lawyer should know that the statute of limitations for personal injury law in Kansas is two years with a discovery rule that states that this amount of time begins when the problem (in this case the mesothelioma) either was discovered or should have been discovered. However, even with the discovery rule, there is a clause saying that the statute of limitations runs out once ten years from the cause of injury has passed. This means that individuals who contract mesothelioma must be able to prove that substantial injury occurred due to asbestos-exposure within the prior ten years. Wrongful death cases fall under the same statute of limitations and follow the same discovery rule. There is no specific statute about asbestos in Kansas.