Sgt. D.A. White of the Economic Crimes Unit of the sheriff’s office has reported that an investigation has been launched by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. The investigation aims to answer questions about asbestos removal on Marco Island. City Manager Bill Moss was informed of the investigation this past week by letter. According to Sgt. White, investigators will be looking at all city contracts pertaining to removal of asbestos.
At the heart of the investigation is a letter sent to the US attorney’s office, the sheriff’s office, and the office of the Florida State Attorney. The letter mentions that park property on Marco Island contains asbestos after a contractor hired by the city to remove asbestos crushed concrete pipe and asbestos on park property. The letter goes on to charge misconduct and negligence by the city and contractor for the incident.
The allegations Stem from the fact that the city permitted Quality Enterprises, the contractor hired for the Collier Boulevard Reconstruction Project, to use park property for materials and work. Residents allege that the company crushed asbestos on the property and left pieces of the toxic material behind. They further allege that Moss and Police Chief Roger Reinke suggested that the asbestos was planted in the park by island residents. Marcos Island has formally stated that it will fully cooperate with investigators.
This is not the first case of a lawsuit stemming from asbestos removal in the US and this new case raises an interesting point: when most people seek damages for asbestos-related personal injury, they seek damages from contractors and manufacturers responsible for installing the toxic materials in buildings. In some cases, lawsuits are launched because employers are aware that asbestos is present in the workplace but take no steps to protect employees.
However, contractors hired to remove asbestos can also cause personal injury that results from exposure to asbestos. Illegal or incomplete asbestos removal can actually stir up toxic asbestos fibres that can cause serious illness later on. Mesothelioma, the cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure, takes decades to appear, so it may not always be evident that asbestos was incorrectly removed.
If you work or live in a building that contains asbestos materials, it is important to hire a qualified asbestos consultant to get advice. It may be best to have a second opinion and to hire someone who has no vested interest in any asbestos removal – in some cases, leaving asbestos in place can be safer. If a qualified expert advises you to remove asbestos, you must hire a certified asbestos abatement contractor to properly remove all affected hazardous materials according to OSHA regulated practices. All asbestos material – including fibers — must be removed in order for the area to be deemed safe.
If you or a loved one have developed Mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, it is important to seek the help of qualified Florida attorneys. Experienced Florida lawyers may have the investigative experience to determine whether asbestos materials or asbestos removal caused the problem, and this can help ensure that you get the help you are entitled to bylaw.