Because of the bankruptcy of so many manufacturers and producers of asbestos products, we have turned our attention toward the responsibility of companies which engaged in selling and installing asbestos products. Now, two of our clients have received substantial awards from three such companies. All are locally owned.
In June 2002, a Niagara County jury awarded Terry Adamec, a former Carbide Graphite employee, nearly two million dollars. The jury found two local distributors of asbestos insulation products responsible for Mr. Adamec’s injuries: Buffalo Insulation Distributors for 40% and Niagara Insulation Distributors for 10%.
Mr. Adamec was represented at trial by Michael A. Ponterio and John P. Comerford.
Mr. Adamec was employed until 1999 when the doctors told him he could no longer work because of severe shortness of breath. Two years later, he was diagnosed with lung cancer due to workplace exposure to asbestos. Buffalo Insulation Distributors, Inc. and Niagara Insulations, Inc. sold asbestos materials to Carbide Graphite.
The verdict was the first in Western New York against distributors of asbestos insulation products. The jury rejected the companies’ argument that the asbestos industry should bear no responsibility, even though the distributors knew the products they sold could cause disease and death.
Earlier this year, the widow of a Local 41 electrician received a substantial settlement from a local spray and plastering contractor after a two week trial. Her husband had died at age 58 as a result of malignant mesothelioma. Michael A. Ponterio and John P. Comerford were able to show the jury the company knew about the hazards of asbestos, but took no precautions to prevent exposure to workers.