University of Rochester

The University of Rochester was founded in 1850 by a group of Baptist sponsors. The University’s campus was originally located on West Main Street in downtown, Rochester, New York. In the mid 1920s and due to increasing student enrollment, the University relocated its main campus to its current location, which is two miles south of downtown Rochester on the Genesee River.

Construction of the University’s Genesee River Campus began in 1927. The campus currently spans 154 acres of land and contains approximately fifty buildings, including an athletic center, a center for the arts and a large stadium. The Eastman Quadrangle (the Quad) is the centerpiece of the University of Rochester’s River Campus. The Quad includes the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Engineering buildings, as well as the Rush Rhees Library. The initial phase of construction of the University of Rochester’s River Campus terminated in 1930, but renovations and the erection of new buildings are frequent and ongoing. Ten buildings have been added to the University of Rochester’s River campus since it opened in 1930.

In recent years, laborers who assisted in the construction of the buildings at the University of Rochester’s River Campus have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Prior to federal regulations placed on asbestos in the late 1970s, asbestos could be found as a component of insulation and building materials, including joint compound, pipe covering and fireproofing materials. These materials were used throughout the construction of the 154 acre campus. Workers who handled materials that contained asbestos or worked in the vicinity of others who did are at high risk for developing an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma.

Fireproof insulation is a mix of asbestos, cement and waste materials from linen mills. This material came packaged in bags, which were dumped into a machine and mixed with water. The mixed material was sprayed onto surfaces with a hose. During this process, large clouds of dust and fibers were emitted into the air of the buildings where the material was being applied.

Laborers also used asbestos-containing joint compound during the drywall finishing process. Asbestos-containing joint compound was sold as either ready-mix (an application-ready product) or as dry mix (a powder that requires water in order to form a paste for application). Dry mix joint compound was packaged in a dry powder like form, which was dumped and mixed in large tubs of water. Dumping and mixing dry joint compound created clouds of airborne asbestos dust. Up to three coats of joint compound were applied to the seams in-between each piece of drywall. After one coat of joint compound dried, it was sanded before the next coat was applied. Sanding joint compound emitted a tremendous amount of asbestos dust into the University of Rochester’s construction areas.

Many union and non-union laborers who worked on construction projects at the University of Rochester were employed by various contractors throughout Western New York. If you or a loved one were once employed as a laborer at the University of Rochester and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.