Understanding, Managing, and Living with the

Health Effects of Asbestos

Mesothelioma Award Considered Highest in New York State

October 3, 2014

Long Island, NY When Ralph P. North got up in the morning and went to work at a job site that would eventually become the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) power station in Northport, Long Island, more than 40 years ago, little did he know that he would be setting up his future with a lifetime sentence of pain and suffering brought on by asbestos mesothelioma.

A jury at the Supreme Court of the State of New York found for the plaintiff and awarded the man $7 million, of $3.5 million each respectively for past and future pain and suffering. North’s legal team expects that defendant National Grid Generation LLC, the successor to LILCO, will appeal the verdict to a higher court.

The case is Ralph P. North v. National Grid Generation LLC. et al., Case No. 190114/13, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York for the County of New York.

North, who now suffers from mesothelioma, testified in his asbestos lawsuit that he was exposed to asbestos dust that was plainly visible on the job site of the future power station during the time he was working there from 1966 through 1972. Often a preferred substance for insulation, asbestos was sprayed onto boilers and pipes.

North also testified, in his asbestos claims, that he was exposed during the process of cutting asbestos block and mixing cement that contained asbestos.

The specific time frame inherent with the exposure alleged to have caused his asbestos cancer is about two years, according to court records.

The plaintiff claimed he had no knowledge of the danger asbestos posed. He also claimed that no warnings were ever posted, and no protective gear was ever provided by LILCO. This, in spite of a New York State ordinance that requires a general contractor to provide a reasonably safe workplace for its employees.

North was a contractor on the site, and not an employee per se. The defense also argued that LILCO did not exercise control or supervision with regard to work performed by contractors. However, according to an attorney for the plaintiff, that defense rang hollow after another former employee of LILCO testified that LILCO specified the use of asbestos for insulating pipes and boilers, and actually specified how the product should be mixed and applied.

The asbestos compensation award, potentially subject to appeal, is considered the largest award ever returned against a power company in the state of New York.

Exposure to asbestos can result in mesothelioma, asbestos cancer and asbestosis. However, due to the long incubation period, it can take decades for the cancer to materialize. When that happens - in North’s case some 40 years later - it’s usually a death sentence for the person involved.

The outcome pretty much assured, the only thing a plaintiff can do is push for the greatest amount of asbestos compensation possible, for medical bills…