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Filing a Claim Related to the Highland Oil Spill

Clean-up efforts of an oil spill that released over 4,000 gallons of crude oil at the Pocahontas Pump Station, near Highland, Illinois, on July 10 are still on-going. While cleanup of the spill started immediately, the surrounding properties may have significant damage with oil being absorbed in to the soil where farmer’s crops are planted.

Silver Lake, which supplies water to the city of Highland and provides much of the area’s recreational activities, had been closed as a precaution. The lake reopened on Wednesday, July 22.

Plains All American Pipeline has estimated that cleanup is 95 percent complete. According to Jason Blevins, director of eastern operations for the Texas based company, “…the other five percent, we can’t give you a definite time frame on.”

Response efforts are expected to transition from an emergency response phase to an operations and maintenance phase due to the progress made in the clean-up efforts.

The Pocahontas pipeline will remain offline until further details as to what caused the spill are revealed.

Click here to learn more about the oil spill at the Plains All American Pipeline Pocahontas pump station.

Simmons Hanly Conroy is currently investigating the legal rights of those who may have been affected by the oil spill.… Read the rest


Asbestos Occupation Spotlight: Steelworkers

Here at Simmons Hanly Conroy, we have helped over 1,000 steelworkers file mesothelioma lawsuits who were exposed to asbestos while working in steel mills around the country.

Even without the dangers of asbestos exposure, working in a steel mill is fraught with dangers between the molten hot steel and intense heat from various equipment like coke ovens and hot tops. Sadly, one of the ways many steelworkers were exposed to asbestos was through the very clothes that were supposed to protect them from the heat.

Steelworkers wore special heat-resistant clothing. That protective gear was often made from asbestos cloth because of asbestos’s natural heat shielding abilities.

Steelworkers could have also been exposed to asbestos in other ways, through the stoves and furnaces used to heat the metal, boiler equipment, and other building materials used to construct the mills.


Steel manufacture, Allegheny-Ludlum. Ladling it out!  These workers are casting ingots from the ladle into which a thirty-five ton electric furnace has just poured its molten steel. The "hot tops" allow for shrinkage of the steel in the ingot bodies. Image Source

“Steel manufacture, Allegheny-Ludlum. Ladling it out! These workers are casting ingots from the ladle into which a thirty-five ton electric furnace has just poured its molten steel. The ‘hot tops’ allow for shrinkage of the steel in the ingot bodies.” Image Source


















Some of the asbestos products used in steel mills include:

  • Boilers
  • Turbines
  • Hot Tops
  • Brakes
  • Gloves and other Clothing
  • Refractories
  • Pipe Covering
  • Gaskets
  • Packing
  • Mud
  • Coke Ovens
  • Masks
  • Pumps
  • Asbestos Cement Board
  • Asbestos Cement Pipe

The asbestos companies who made their asbestos-containing products were often aware of the dangers, but failed to warn their employees working in the steel mills and their families of the dangers of exposure the deadly toxin.… Read the rest


Meet the Attorney: Deborah Rosenthal

If there’s one word to describe how attorney Deborah Rosenthal feels about working with clients to help them secure the justice they deserve, it’s this:


“I am a true believer in justice as a basic human right and in the ability of our civil justice system to level the playing field in a way that few other institutions can,” Deborah says.

deborahAs a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy, Deborah currently handles cases in the firm’s mesothelioma and environmental litigation departments. She works in our San Francisco office and has spent 10 years helping to secure millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for those who have been wrongfully injured through asbestos exposure.

Working with people who suffer from cancer or have lost a family member to a fatal cancer such as mesothelioma, can of course be emotionally charged. But “the civil justice system can help restore people’s sense of dignity and power after they have had something wrongfully taken from them,” [Click to Tweet] Deborah says. “I feel honored to be a part of that process.”

Prior to joining the firm’s team of experienced attorneys, Deborah represented clients in asbestos and benzene-related toxic exposure cases, sexual abuse and other psychological injury cases, automobile accident cases, and cases involved the liability of property owners and landlords, always on behalf of the injured.… Read the rest


Tips for Protecting Your Family from Take Home Asbestos Exposure

Some people may not realize that you don’t have to work in an occupation with asbestos products to be exposed to it. You could be at risk for “take home” asbestos exposure. This is when asbestos dust gets on a worker’s clothes and/or skin. [Click to Tweet] When they leave to go home, so does the dust, which exposes their spouses, children and other immediate family members. In some cases, children have developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases later on in life because they hugged their parents.

Learn about mesothelioma.

Learn about mesothelioma.

Several of our clients were exposed to asbestos because they shook the dust off their husband’s work clothes before putting them in the washing machine, or hugged their dad when he came home from work.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from take home exposure, especially if you are the one working in an occupation that may come into contact with asbestos (construction, machining, firefighting, automotive services, etc.) Below are tips for reducing asbestos contamination at home from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  1. Use proper safety precautions to reduce exposure. Always wear protective gear and do not bring the protective gear home with you.
Read the rest

Asbestos-containing Crayons, Crime Scene Kits Pose Threat to Children’s Health

Earlier this week an environmental nonprofit group, the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, released a study which revealed the presence of asbestos in crayons and crime scene kits commonly used by children. Four of 28 boxes of crayons and two of 21 crime scene fingerprint kits tested positive for asbestos. All of the tainted products could be purchased in retail stores, as well as online.  The six products that contained asbestos were:

  • Amscan Crayons
  • Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Crayons
  • Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Crayons
  • Saban Power Rangers Super Megaforce Crayons
  • EduScience Deluxe Forensics Kit (black fingerprint powder)
  • Inside Intelligence Secret Spy Kit (white fingerprint powder)

Exposure to asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma, a fatal cancer than affects over 3,000 Americans each year. According to an analysis by the U.K. Committee on Carcinogenicity, children who come into contact with asbestos are 3.5 times more likely to develop mesothelioma than young adults who are exposed, due to the long lag time between exposure and disease development.

The World Health Organization (WHO) agrees that children’s longer life expectancies increase their chances of manifesting latent diseases, as they generally live longer with toxic damage. WHO also notes that children are more susceptible to harm from pollutants because of their immature and developing organs and systems, which create “critical windows of vulnerability,” to damage from toxic exposures that adults simply do not have.… Read the rest

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