Attorney General’s Office of Massachusetts Holds Illegal Asbestos Workers Accountable

1/17/2018

The Attorney General's Office recently secured a $215,000 settlement from two companies it sued for performing illegal asbestos work in Haverhill and Lowell (Click here for full story). The lawsuit alleged that Dellbrook Construction, LLC, a general contractor, and A-Best Abatement, an asbestos abatement company, failed to comply with the Commonwealth's clean air law and regulations that apply to the safe handling of asbestos at work sites. According to the complaint, a construction site at Harbor Place in Haverhill was polluted when workers crushed an underground asbestos-containing pipe causing the release of small dry pieces of asbestos into the air around the property. It was further alleged that the defendants failed to seal or properly ventilate work areas while removing asbestos material from the basement of a building being renovated at Mass Mills in Lowell. In both instances, the Attorney General's Office noted that the defendants failed to follow required work practices and failed to notify the Department of Environmental Protection before conducting the work. The message sent was clear--such failures will not be tolerated.

This suit is another example of the Attorney General's focus on making asbestos safety a priority in Massachusetts. In fact, since 2016, the Attorney General's Office has recovered approximately $1.7 million in civil penalties related to asbestos enforcement. The Attorney General's Office emphasizes that companies must ensure that any construction and demolition work involving asbestos is done in a safe and legal way to protect workers and the public.

Companies performing asbestos removal must follow strict federal and state regulatory requirements to ensure worker and public safety, and to avoid stiff penalties. To provide themselves with an added layer of civil liability protection, companies should thoroughly document their asbestos detection measures and preserve the information conveyed to employees about the process and results. By taking these steps, a company will be in a position to defend itself against any potential lawsuits that may develop years, or even decades, after the abatement is complete.

Governo Law Firm has defended and advised clients in complex asbestos and toxic tort matters for three decades. We regularly lecture and publish articles on current legal developments and other trends in asbestos, toxic tort and environmental litigation. If you would like to speak with someone regarding asbestos or other toxic tort matters, please contact David Governo at [email protected] or Alec Pine at [email protected].