A claim filed by a longtime building inspector has made it clear that hundreds of San Diego city employees were subjected to harmful asbestos exposure, and now those employees are concerned about their risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
According to the claim filed September 14th on behalf of city building inspector Bryan Monaghan, “The city exposed its employees to deadly asbestos for months while they occupied 1010 Second Ave. building, and then the city concealed the significance of the asbestos exposure its employees suffered.”
Asbestos is a mineral that was frequently used to insulate buildings prior to the 1980s. Its use was largely discontinued after it was discovered to be a carcinogen, and since that time strict regulations have been put in place regarding its removal and the levels of exposure that are allowed.
"The city exposed its employees to deadly asbestos for months while they occupied 1010 Second Ave. building, and then the city concealed the significance of the asbestos exposure its employees suffered."
Making matters worse is the fact that the city’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Ronald Villa, indicated to employees that despite the risks involved with their asbestos exposure, relocation from the building was delayed as a result of a potential $1 million penalty for leaving before the city’s lease for the building had expired.
Asbestos Exposure Filing Likely to Proceed Lawsuit
Mr. Monaghan’s asbestos exposure formal filing is expected to proceed the filing of a lawsuit: it is the first step when a public agency has been accused of wrongdoing that is expected to proceed to a court hearing.
Though the city has issued statements defending itself and indicating that workplace safety is their highest priority, many employees question their motives and believe that the administration put the potential loss of $1 million ahead of concerns over employee health.
It is anticipated that as many as 550 employees who were subjected to asbestos exposure may eventually file suit against the city, the building owner, or both.