The famed Nassau Coliseum on New York’s Long Island will soon be losing its only tenant. The New York Islanders of the National Hockey League recently announced that they will be moving to the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn after their lease expires in 2015.
To add insult to injury, the Coliseum is embroiled in several lawsuits from former employees claiming that management failed to protect them from asbestos exposure. According to a LongIsland.com report, more than 100 current and former employees have joined the suit, and the damages are projected to be more than $500 million.
The plaintiffs include a widow of a heating and air conditioning (HVAC) technician who ostensibly passed away from mesothelioma cancer. A number of other workers have been diagnosed with lung cancer due to asbestos exposure.
LongIsland.com also reports that even though the structure has been deemed safe for fans, asbestos has been found in places where electricians, carpenters and plumbers commonly work. They include loading docks, private stairwells, catwalks above the arena, and in a tunnel below the arena floor.
The Coliseum is like many structures built before 1979, when building materials containing asbestos materials (e.g. insulation, cement, tiles) were banned. Building owners who find dangerous materials have a duty to remove them so that patrons are not exposed. However, some owners choose to ignore hazards or conceal them. When this occurs, they can be held liable for the resulting injuries and illnesses.
If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos and have developed respiratory problems as a result, an experienced attorney can help.
Source: LongIsland.com, Nassau Coliseum faces lawsuits over asbestos exposure, March 26, 2013