A contract engineer has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the city of San Diego, accusing his former employer of knowingly exposing hundreds of workers to the risk of malignant mesothelioma and other diseases and lying about the presence of asbestos in a leased high rise that it was remodeling.
Asbestos Lawsuit Accuses City of Creating New Mesothelioma Risk
The asbestos lawsuit was filed by Jose Luis Guerrero, and centers on the risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases created when public officials cut corners during renovations to the former headquarters of Sempra Energy. The former contract engineer claims that at the same time that the city was aware of earlier asbestos exposures they were creating new contamination and dismissing the independent testing company responsible for collecting air samples. “Instead of first properly remediating asbestos in the building, respondent designed the project to utilize spot remediation of asbestos as it may be encountered during remodeling,” the complaint states.
For employees who were moved back into the building last month, it is unclear whether the building is safe or not. The city is already facing accusations of exposing workers to asbestos in another nearby building. Though city officials originally indicated that the new work environment is safe, they evacuated the building last week, telling employees that they would be advised of temporary work locations soon and closing it to the public until further notice.
Complaint Cites Cost Overruns and Delays that Spurred Carelessness
According to Guerrero’s complaint, cost overruns and delays were imposing significant pressure on the city to get the job done, and that led to asbestos safety concerns being dismissed. It reads in part, “The remodeling became much more extensive than planned, which thus disturbed more asbestos, frequently contaminating and re-contaminating work areas. Respondent (the city) was under extraordinary public scrutiny and pressure due to severe cost overruns and occupancy delays.”
The claim points to the city ending its contract with its long-time air monitoring contractor to support its assertion that it acted to diminish awareness of the potential for mesothelioma risk, saying the city “was using its control of sampling protocols to intentionally avoid reporting the extent of asbestos contamination which it could in turn utilize to mislead regulators and continue to expose unknowing workers, including claimant.”
If you have been exposed to asbestos, then mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases could be a concern. For information on your risk, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.