Were you exposed to asbestos during your work at Goodyear Tire? If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related condition, you could be entitled to compensation. Keep reading to learn more.
An insurance unit that is part of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. operated by Warren Buffett has sued Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company so that it would not have to cover asbestos-related injury claims that the tire company concealed for years. (Reuters.com).
Berkshire Hathaway Speciality Insurance Company stated in 2017 that it was seeking damages in a federal lawsuit that was filed in Akron, Ohio, the home of Goodyear.
Berkshire stated that Goodyear claimed in 2008 that it had exhausted a policy from another insurance company for asbestos cancer claims. But it waited until the end of 2015 to be reimbursed from Berkshire for several million dollars. It also noted that Goodyear did not ask for help in defending against claims before the end of 2015.
More Than 60,000 Asbestos Lawsuits Pending Against Goodyear
It is estimated that 62,000 lawsuits are pending against Goodyear in Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas over workers being exposed to asbestos-containing products such as tiles, furnace hoses, gaskets, and heat shields. Extended exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma and other serious health problems. Federal law today requires that newly manufactured products and materials cannot contain more than 1% asbestos.
Most companies stopped using asbestos in their products and materials after the mid-1970s when asbestos was connected to many forms of cancer. But exposure to asbestos can take many years to surface.
Berkshire wants a court declaration that it is not required to cover Goodyear claims from 2008 until the end of 2015, and can recover some funds it has paid on behalf of the tire company.
Former Goodyear Tire Worker’s Family Receives $2.8 Million Award
Below is a specific Goodyear asbestos exposure case that resulted in compensation for a Texas family. If you worked at Goodyear and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be able to file a claim through a mesothelioma attorney.
The family of Carl Rogers, a former tire builder at Goodyear’s Tyler TX plant from 1974-2004, was awarded a $2.8 million verdict in 2017. The jury found that Rogers’ mesothelioma was caused by Goodyear’s gross negligence. (Courtlistener.com).
According to court documents, Rogers worked in a tire building the size of a football field, which contained 85 tire building machines. Carl was exposed to asbestos from the tire building machines and from insulation on pipes over his head.
Rogers was exposed to asbestos from overhead insulation in the following ways:
- Any time insulation was taken out to repair or replace pipes, a lot of asbestos-containing dust was released.
- Also, when the company began asbestos abatement work, no steps were taken to protect workers from asbestos dust.
Also, the brake pads in tire building machines at Goodyear contained asbestos and released dangerous asbestos fibers as they wore down. Further, compressed air was used to clean the brake dust from the devices. The process created dust clouds that contained asbestos.
Rogers was exposed to asbestos when the brake pads on his machine were replaced and when compressed air was used to repair a stuck brake valve. The tire worker also was exposed as a bystander from other tire building machines. None of the devices nor their instructions had warnings about asbestos contamination.
Diagnosed With Asbestos Cancer in 1999
Carl Rogers was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1999, and it spread to the brain. He had surgery to remove the tumors from his brain and lung. Rogers also had radiation therapy and chemotherapy. While the treatments were successful and he was cured, he developed mesothelioma in 2008. He died in 2009 at the age of 60.
Roger’s wife and two adult daughters filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Goodyear. They alleged that the company’s gross negligence caused Rogers’ mesothelioma. They also alleged the tire company did not adequately warn Rogers of asbestos hazards and did not adhere to safety standards to protect employees from harm.
Expert testimony in the trial stated that Rogers’ exposure to asbestos from 1975 to 185 was .613 fiber years per cc (each breath a human takes is approximately 500 cc’s of air). Based on this exposure level, Roger’s increased risk of mesothelioma ranged from four times to 22 times that of the general population. Expert witnesses testified that Rogers’ occupational exposure to asbestos while working at Goodyear was a substantial factor in the development of his asbestos cancer.
Goodyear Was Aware of Asbestos Risks
During the trial, a July 1972 letter to plant personnel managers was given into evidence. In that letter, Goodyear attached OSHA asbestos standards from June 1972 and included the company’s own instructions for asbestos. Each tire building facility was ordered to survey their operations for the use of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials. The instructions stated that asbestos fiber inhalation was the common cause of mesothelioma.
The company stated that routine air sampling at tire building facilities should be done weekly until enough data was collected to ‘assure complete coverage of all phases of the work.’ After that, routine air sampling was to be done monthly.
However, other employees testified the first time the Goodyear Tyler plant had any air testing done was in 1978. Workers at the Tyler plant did not receive any information about asbestos in the facility until 1983, and sign warnings were placed on tire building machines as late as 1984.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company exposed thousands of employees to dangerous asbestos-containing products and did not tell anyone for years. Employees of the company may have been exposed to dangerous asbestos and put at risk of developing mesothelioma and other cancers.
If you worked at Goodyear and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is recommended to talk to a skilled mesothelioma attorney. You may be entitled to mesothelioma victims compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.