Lawsuit alleges asbestos at Penn State campus caused former professor’s mesothelioma death

A warning sign stands outside of a construction site that is contaminated with asbestos.

Penn State University is facing a lawsuit filed on behalf of a former professor at the school who died in 2014 from mesothelioma cancer. The lawsuit, filed by the family of professor Peter Labosky, alleges that their father’s mesothelioma diagnosis was caused by decades of exposure to asbestos materials that were present in buildings on the Penn State campus in State College, Pennsylvania.

Although the link between mesothelioma and asbestos has been publicly known for decades, many of the buildings on Penn State’s campus were built in the 1940s through 1970s. As a result, these buildings were constructed using floor tiles, ceilings, tiles, pipe insulation, HVAC duct work, and ceiling sprays that contained asbestos.

Penn State conducted a study in the 1970s that found that almost 100 buildings on the school’s campus were contaminated with asbestos. Although the school took steps to remove asbestos-containing materials from some of these buildings, in 1989, the school decided to halt this asbestos remediation process due to budgetary concerns. As late as 2006, documents indicate that the university was aware of at least 500 buildings on the school’s campus that were still contaminated with asbestos.

Professor’s Family Files Mesothelioma Lawsuit Against Penn State

Professor Labosky was a veteran of the U.S. Army who served in the military for several years after high school. After earning his PhD in Wood Science from Virginia Tech University, Prof. Labosky became a teacher at Penn State for 22 year. He retired in 2001 as Professor Emeritus.

Prof. Labosky was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in 2014, 12 years after he retired from teaching at Penn State. Like many patients who are diagnosed with this aggressive cancer, the former professor died the same year that he learned that he had developed mesothelioma.

Following his death, Prof. Labosky’s family filed a lawsuit against Penn State. The lawsuit alleged that the university knew decades before the professor began teaching at the school about the widespread asbestos contamination of buildings on its campus, but failed to take the necessary remediation measures in order to ensure that the school was free from asbestos and that its employees were protected from the risk of mesothelioma or other diseases caused by asbestos exposure.

The Labosky family’s lawsuit against Penn State is the first time a university has been sued by a former employee over asbestos exposure. The lawsuit was made possible by a 2013 Pennsylvania court ruling that allowed employees to sue their former employers for negligence, rather than simply filing a workers compensation claim.

Other schools in Pennsylvania have also recently faced asbestos lawsuits filed on behalf of former teachers who were diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases. Recently, the City of Philadelphia agreed to an $850,000 settlement with a former high school teacher who was diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos materials at the city’s high schools.

Free Legal Consultation for Victims of Mesothelioma Cancer

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other diseases caused by asbestos exposure, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit or a claim with one of the asbestos trusts established to compensate asbestos victims. The first step in taking legal action is to talk with an experienced asbestos attorney who can advise you regarding your legal rights and guide you through the process of filing a claim.

For more information about filing a mesothelioma or asbestos lawsuit and to learn more out whether you may qualify, contact the law firm of Hissey, Mulderig & Friend to receive a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-866-806-8117, or by filling out our free case evaluation form on the right side of this page.

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