Connecticut (CT) Asbestos Information:
Connecticut is one of the smallest states in the union in terms of area; when it comes to asbestos, however, it may be one of the largest. According to one website, there are over six hundred locations at which people are known to have been exposed to asbestos.
These are not confined to industrial locations; they run the gamut from schools and insurance companies to chemical factories and shipbuilding facilities. There is even a well-known restaurant listed, as well as a synagogue; ironically, one of the businesses listed is a health clinic.
What makes this all the more interesting is the fact that the state of Connecticut has had only one place in which asbestos was processed, which was located around Torrington in the northwestern area of the state – and the 600 or so asbestos sites are located in only three cities: Fairfield, Hartford and New Haven.
“Fairness” in Asbestos Litigation?
Before the election of 2006 in which control of Congress passed from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party, there was a piece of legislation ironically called the “F.A.I.R.” Act (“Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution”). Authored by Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, it was strongly supported by Senate majority whip Bill Frist.
The so-called “F.A.I.R.” Act would have shielded corporations from mesothelioma lawsuits in perpetuity, and victims would no longer have had the right to sue.
One Connecticut industry that was pushing strongly for this asbestos litigation “reform” was the lumber industry. The Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut (LDAC) actually went so far as to publish a letter on their website, encouraging members to download it, sign it and send it Senators Frist and McConnell. It’s small wonder; if the list of exposure sites is any indication, Connecticut had a huge amount of asbestos litigation going at any given time.
It’s Not the Water… But Other Things
Between 1935 and 1973, there were several investigations by medical researchers into connections between gastrointestinal cancer in several Connecticut communities and the drinking water–which was delivered via pipes made from asbestos cement. These studies failed to show any correlation, however.
A great deal of asbestos has been found in Connecticut schools. This by itself is not unusual with school buildings constructed before 1980. However, one would not expect to find it in school supplies. But this is where asbestos showed up recently. In a letter sent to parents of schoolchildren all over the state in June of 2007, officials warned that a certain kind of clay used in children’s art classes contained talc that may have been contaminated with asbestos fibers. While an epidemiologist with the state public health department suggested that there might have been “conflicting interpretations” of the information, it is worth noting that talc miners in upstate New York suffer from unusually high rates of mesothelioma.
Death Rates From Asbestos Disease
Despite the fact that asbestos is everywhere in Connecticut, the per capita death rate from asbestos diseases are roughly comparable to those in California. Out of a population of 3 to 3.4 million, over a twenty year period between 1979 and 1999, 500 people died from asbestos disease; the figures are evenly divided between the rare and fatal asbestos cancer mesothelioma and the non-fatal asbestos disease asbestosis. However, as is the case in other parts of the country, mesothelioma is more prevalent in urban areas. In the case of Connecticut, Hartford Country had the most fatalities at 122, most of which were from mesothelioma; Tolland County’s were the fewest at 12, two-thirds of which were from asbestosis.
Connecticut (CT) Job Sites At Risk From Asbestos Exposure:
Over the course of the last century, hundreds of thousands of workers were exposed to asbestos while on the job – and for the most part, they were not warned. Below is a list of Job sites covered on Asbestos.net from the state of Connecticut (CT) where workers were potentially and unnecessarily put at risk:
CT Submarine Base: Groton, CT
Electric Boat: Groton, CT
New London Submarine Base: Groton, CT
Connecticut (CT) Asbestos Cancer & Mesothelioma Doctors:
There appear to be no Connecticut mesothelioma lawsuits that have reached the level of the state Supreme Court. There are four cases at that level which referenced mesothelioma to help support other related issues, such as workers’ compensation rules and statute of limitations laws in the state. Those four cases are:
Ricigliano v. Ideal Forging Corp.: This was a case in which the court was trying to determine the statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim when the claimant is diagnosed with a disease but does not know of the connection between the disease and workplace exposure until some time later. The state supreme court reversed a lower court’s decision that the statute of limitations begins at the time of diagnosis, citing the long latency period of mesothelioma in the explanation of its decision.
Maher v. Quest Diagnostics, Inc.: Mesothelioma was cited several times in this case in relation to determining whether “doubling times” of disease were scientific fact to be admitted in a lower court case. Otherwise, this case is unrelated to mesothelioma law.
Hatt v. Burlington Coat Factory: The portion of this case that relates to mesothelioma is in its discussion about the legislative history of Section 31-299b of Connecticut State Law, which indicates that the legislature intended the statute to apply only to occupational diseases and repetitive trauma. It goes on to specifically cite mesothelioma in relation to this piece of legislation, which rules that the final employer to have employed a victim of a disease like mesothelioma is the one who must pay damages. This means that a victim can only bring a Connecticut mesothelioma lawsuit against the last employer to have caused exposure to asbestos even if other exposure occurred earlier in the victim’s life.
Lafayette v. General Dynamics Corp.: This is the only case to have reached the Connecticut Supreme Court that is specific to a victim of mesothelioma. However, the issue at hand was a complicated legal detail relating to collateral estoppel, which prevents a party to a lawsuit from raising an issue that was already decided against him in another lawsuit. In this case the plaintiff and her Connecticut mesothelioma lawyer sued for wrongful death benefits under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and won; when she tried to apply for survivor’s benefits under Connecticut Workers’ Compensation law, the defendant attempted to disprove the cause of the death, which had been litigated at the earlier hearing. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that collateral estoppel did apply, and that the defendant could not attempt to get a different ruling about the cause of death from the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.
The statute of limitations for personal injury law in Connecticut is two years from the date of the act that caused the injury or from the date of the discovery of the injury, but no more than three years from date of the act. This has special significance in mesothelioma cases, because if the disease is not discovered within three years from the date of asbestos exposure, filing a Connecticut mesothelioma lawsuit may be difficult – it would be important to speak to a Connecticut mesothelioma lawyer to determine if this would still be an option in the state of Connecticut or if there are other options available to the victim. Wrongful death cases must be filed within two years of the date of death but no more than five years from the act that caused the death. Again, this can be a problem in mesothelioma cases, which often manifest many years after exposure. Connecticut has no specific statute about asbestos. There are no specific provisions as to the amount of damages that can be obtained in a mesothelioma case in Connecticut. However, there is a general payment rule that for damages over $200,000, if parties do not agree to a specific payment schedule, the court may order a lump-sum payment.