The city of Commerce, Texas is facing off against a New Orleans property management company in a lawsuit that alleges the company improperly disposed of asbestos from an apartment complex they owned in the city. The city of Commerce has filed a multi-million dollar suit against Fountainbleau Management for improper asbestos disposal after a 2008 fire at the company’s Live Oak Apartments. Following the fire an independent analysis by a Dallas company found that the complex had asbestos in the walls, ceilings and tiles.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber that, for many years, was used in building materials for its tensile strength and fireproofing qualities. Unfortunately, when it is disturbed, the tiny fibers can be inhaled into and become embedded in one’s lungs potentially causing numerous health problems including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.
Asbestos poses such dangerous health risks that special care must be taken in its removal from construction sites and subsequent disposal. Commerce has estimated that it would have cost Fountainbleau Management over $80,000 to dispose of the asbestos debris from the fire and alleges the company did not follow environmental regulations to save money. Commerce accuses Fountainbleau of filling public trash dumpsters with asbestos and burying other asbestos debris in a hole behind the property.
Commerce officials have stated that they learned of the buried asbestos from a tipster. Testing is being performed to determine if the asbestos has affected groundwater near the burial site and a criminal investigation is underway in the matter.
Have you or someone you know been exposed to asbestos and potential health problems? An asbestos lawyer may be able to help.