Kentucky (KY) Asbestos Information:
The Bluegrass State is yet another one that has no natural deposits of asbestiform minerals. Virtually all asbestos exposure in Kentucky as been occupational, occurring at oil refineries, natural gas plants, power plants and the chemical industry as well as the construction trades.
What About Construction?
From the late 19th century up until the 1980s, numerous asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were used in building construction. These products included fireproof shingles, asbestos wallboard, acoustic tiles, flooring, insulation and ceiling texture, among other products. Despite the recent passage in the Senate of S.742, the “Ban Asbestos in America Act,” there are still some 3,000 products still manufactured and sold in the U.S. containing asbestos (assuming that the Act becomes law, it won’t take full effect until 2010).
Construction fields such as renovation and demolition involve substantial risk of exposure to “friable” asbestos as these ACMs are damaged. As there is no shortage of historic and aging buildings in the state of Kentucky, it is likely that most who work or have worked in construction have suffered some degree of asbestos exposure.
Not only is asbestos valuable as a flame retardant, certain kinds of asbestos have been useful against the effects of corrosive chemicals as well. Chemical labs primarily employed crocidolite, or “blue asbestos,” which was an exceptionally deadly form of amphibole (amphiboles are long, spear-like fibers that, according to researchers, work much faster to cause damage to the body than the softer chrysotile variety). Both the Louisville Chemical Plant and Alcoa were jobsites at which asbestos fibers posed a threat.
The Fort Campbell Barracks and Boiler Room
The military has long used asbestos in many applications. For the most part, it was used by the Navy as flame retardant for sea-going vessels.
Fort Campbell is home to the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. The base was constructed during the months following the U.S. entry into World War II when asbestos was commonly used in buildings and boiler rooms. Pipefitters and other maintenance workers during the 1940s, 50s and 60s as well as Army personnel stationed there are likely to have received substantial doses of asbestos.
One of the tragedies of the war was that combat casualties constituted only about half of the recorded deaths. It is estimated that at least as many were injured and killed by asbestos diseases such as mesothelioma or asbestosis as fell in battle.
Anywhere there was heat or fire danger, there was likely to be some kind of asbestos in use. Power plants are perhaps some of the most dangerous places for asbestos – something that was recently confirmed in a study of power plant workers in Puerto Rico.
The jobsites at which asbestos was a threat could be found throughout the Bluegrass State, from Louisville to Bowling Green and from Middlesboro to Paducah. A great deal of the state is rural; most counties in Kentucky recorded only a single death from asbestos over a 20-year period.
Total mortality from asbestos disease between 1980 and 2000 was 434, representing about 0.01% of the total population, or one in 10,000. Most of these were in Jefferson County, where most of Kentucky’s population resides. Fayette and Campbell Counties were next; together, these three areas accounted for 149 of the recorded victims.
Statewide, malignant mesothelioma deaths outnumbered those from asbestosis by roughly three to one, although asbestosis is far more common.
The reason for this is that fewer people actually die from asbestosis; it is not malignant and is highly treatable if discovered early. Mesothelioma on the other hand is a form of asbestos cancer and has a much higher mortality rate; it is not curable, and most victims succumb within 18 months of their diagnosis.
Kentucky (KY) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:
It appears that Kentucky mesothelioma lawsuits are limited and fall in favor of the defendants. In addition to general litigation often finding for the defendant, rules of the state seem to be in the defendant’s favor as well. For example, personal injury litigation in Kentucky is limited to one year, which is shorter than the statute of limitations for most states. Additionally, rulings about the responsibilities of property owners in the state to contractors who do work on their premises fall in favor of the property owner.
A search through the records of the Kentucky Federal District Court for asbestos personal injury litigation or Kentucky mesothelioma lawsuits turns up three cases. Those three cases (which occurred in 2006 and 2007) are Moeller et al v. Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC et al, Irwin v. General Motors Corporation et al, and Bunch v. Cytec Fiberite, Inc. At least one of these cases, the Irwin case, was a quick (two-week) trial resulting in a verdict for the defendant, which may be an issue of concern to Kentucky mesothelioma lawyers and the victims the represent seeking to litigate in the state of Kentucky.
A tendency to favor the defendant can also be seen in an asbestos-related case from 2006, Brewster v. Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Jewish Hospital Healthcare Services. In this case, an asbestosis victim had filed suit against two different companies for possible asbestos exposure during construction work that he had performed at each location. Summary judgment was awarded in favor of both of the defendants due in part to the fact that the victim couldn’t prove that he had been exposed at those locations. Another significant aspect of this case with regard to asbestos-exposure victims is the fact that in the opinion of the court, neither property owner had breached any sort of duty to the victim. The court ruled that the “owner of premises is not responsible to an independent contractor for injury from defects or dangers which the contractor knows of, or ought to know of.” This is an issue of concern to Kentucky mesothelioma lawyers and litigants because it indicates that if a contractor should have known about the possibility of asbestos exposure, than the property owner isn’t going to be held liable.
Despite the fact that there is not as many mesothelioma lawsuits in Kentucky as there may be in other states, the residents of Kentucky do have reasons for mesothelioma concerns. The state is home to at least one Superfund site, Smith’s Farm, located in Bullitt County, which has been cited for asbestos contamination. It was also the location of a former W. R. Grace plant in the city of Wilder. The plant received and processed vermiculite from Libby, Montana, from 1952 to 1992; people who worked at the plant, lived near it, or lived with someone who worked there may be at risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.
Those interested in filing a Kentucky mesothelioma lawsuit or hiring a Kentucky mesothelioma lawyer should know that the statute of limitations for personal injury law in Kentucky is only one year 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. Wrongful death lawsuits are also limited to the one-year statute of limitations with this one year beginning at the date that the injured party appointed a personal representative to handle the matter. If there was no personal representative appointed by the mesothelioma victim, then the statute of limitations runs out two years from the date of death. Kentucky has no specific statutes about asbestos.