Lawsuit Seeks Millions for Former Kansas Courthouse Workers

April 1, 2015

Lawyers are seeking what could be millions of dollars in damages for people who worked at the Jackson County Courthouse during an asbestos removal project in the early 1980s.

Attorney Lou Accurso says the employees should receive free medical testing for the rest of their lives. The lawsuit seeks more than $40 million for a medical monitoring fund for courthouse workers, jurors or anyone else who had to spend a significant amount of time in the courthouse over the last 30 years. Accurso filed the lawsuit for two former employees but is seeking class action status.

The attorney says the he was working in the county prosecutor’s office and remembers being on the freight elevator with workers, who were removing dusty pipes during the asbestos removal.

“There’s a whole lot of people, including me,” he said, “who were down there and got the same exposure.”

The family of 56-year-old Nancy Lopez, who died in 2010 from asbestos-related illnesses, received $10.4 million from the county and the firm that did the removal, U.S. Engineering Co. On of Lopez’ co-workers, who is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, alleges that dust mixed with asbestos was tracked through the hallways and stairways of the courthouse during the removal project.

The county and U.S. Engineering contend there’s no proof toxic levels of asbestos were found in the courthouse. The lead attorney representing U.S. Engineering, Jim Griffin, said his client is “evaluating all options for further appeal” of the appellate court ruling.

Dennis Dobbels, who represents Jackson County, says that there will be an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court

The Kansas City Star reports the Missouri Court of Appeals reinstated the case this month after a lower court denied it class-action status.

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