Mesothelioma Lawsuit Against Penn State Exposes Asbestos on U.S. Campuses

A mesothelioma lawsuit filed on behalf of a deceased Penn State University professor is shining a light on the existence of asbestos in university buildings across the United States. According to the family’s representative, “Almost every college and university have older buildings and these older buildings during their construction in the ’40s, in the ’50s, in the 60s, in the ’70s contained asbestos containing building materials like floor tile, ceiling, tile, pipe insulation, HVAC duct work and ceiling sprays.”

Colleges Unwilling to Pay Cost for Asbestos Removal May Face Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Penn State and many other schools across the country became aware of the presence of asbestos in their offices and classrooms at roughly the same time that it became widely known that the material causes malignant mesothelioma. Though many sued to have the material cleaned up, companies like Johns Manville were in bankruptcy and the schools were unable to get the compensation needed to clean the carcinogen out. The schools opted instead to largely ignore its presence and deny its dangers.

Though a few schools offered warnings about mesothelioma and the location of asbestos in their buildings, air testing was rarely conducted and mitigation efforts were minimal. In the meantime, faculty, staff and students alike continued to be exposed to the carcinogenic material. In 2014 Penn State professor Peter Labosky died of mesothelioma after teaching at the school for 22 years.

Mesothelioma Lawsuits May Force Schools To Take Action

Ever since it became known that asbestos causes malignant mesothelioma the EPA has enacted protections for school students, but their rules do not extend beyond K-12 buildings. Personal injury lawsuits like the one filed by Professor Labosky’s family may spur higher education to take action. So far the school has been asked to provide tens of thousands of pages of documents dating back decades, including internal memos and reports, regarding their knowledge of asbestos in their buildings.

Speaking of the risk of mesothelioma and the decisions that universities have made in the past, Labosky’s family representative said, “These massive university systems that have billions of dollars, not only in annual revenue, or annual operating budgets, but they’re also worth billions. From my position, spending money that you have to make people safe is worth every penny. When it comes to the safety of your faculty and your staff and your students, how much is their life worth?” The case is making its way through the court systems.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma after having been exposed to asbestos, it may have been the result of negligence. If you need information about your rights or the resources available to you, please contact the Patient Advocates at at  1-800-692-8608 today.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

Learn More About And Contact Terri
Get Help Contacting
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
24/7 Live Chat
Online Now