Donald Osterberg was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February 2010. Kazan Law filed suit on behalf of Mr. Osterberg in May 2010 and the trial began in January 2011. Evidence at trial showed that J.T. Thorpe & Son, Inc., the remaining defendant at trial, did not follow California’s Dust Fumes and Vapors Safety Regulations, and knew that its employees’ work of cutting, sanding, mixing and discarding asbestos-containing insulation products released toxic dust that was inhaled by its workers and others who were working in the vicinity. The evidence showed that J. T. Thorpe & Son could have protected all workers present by following the state safety regulations to isolate its workers, use wet down procedures, and provide respirators. The evidence showed that J.T. Thorpe & Son, Inc. did not warn anyone at the Moss Landing site about the dangers of breathing asbestos dust. (Donald Osterberg v. Allied Packing & Supply, Inc., et al. (2011), Case No. RG10515625, Alameda County Superior Court)
Donald Osterberg worked from 1949 to May 1950 as a night shift laborer during the construction of the PG&E Steam Plant at Moss Landing, California. Mr. Osterberg swept up dust and debris, often six to 12 inches deep, from asbestos-containing insulation, pipe covering and other asbestos debris left behind from the day’s work at the construction site. Mr. Osterberg put dust and debris from various asbestos-containing products into a wheelbarrow and dumped the wheelbarrow from a platform into a truck below, creating plumes of asbestos-containing dust. The dust covered his clothes and body and made it hard to breathe.
After two and a half weeks at trial, a confidential settlement was negotiated before being presented to the jury. Mr. Osterberg was a widower and lived with his son in Fresno, California. He was relieved that the trial ended and he was able to spend his last few days in peace with his family. He passed away in March 2011.