Workers in the United States are not alone in having been negligently exposed to asbestos and falling victim to malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a global problem, and though America has a reputation for being overly litigious, courts around the world are starting to follow the same path of ordering asbestos companies to pay significant damage amounts to those who have suffered as a result of their carelessness. In Japan, the Fukuoka High Court recently ordered four asbestos companies that provided construction materials, as well as the government itself, to pay ¥350 million to construction workers and their relatives for their injuries, illness and losses.
Recent Ruling is Fifth to Order Payment to Mesothelioma Victims
The recent ruling is not the first to pit the government and the construction materials makers against mesothelioma victims. In fact, it is the fifth ruling regarding asbestos litigation and the fourth in which the court decisively determined that the Japanese government and asbestos companies had erred and needed to take responsibility for the damage caused by their decisions.
The victims that filed suit were former construction workers diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases and their family members, though the court also took the time to address the government’s responsibility with regard to self-employed contractors.The plaintiffs had been seeking approximately ¥1.1 billion in compensation in total.
Judge Berates Government and Companies Failure to Act
In reviewing the mesothelioma claims, Judge Noriyuki Yamanouchi chided both the government and the construction materials companies, confirming that the information about the dangers of asbestos had been available as early as 1975 and that they had clearly been capable of seeing the risk and acting responsibly.
In one of the earlier cases, Judge Naoyuki Tagawa pointied to the failure to put appropriate measures in place, saying: “If the state’s measures to regulate asbestos are substantially unreasonable, they should inevitably be considered to be illegal.”
For information on the remedies available to you if you’ve been sickened by exposure to asbestos, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.