Case Study


A jury has granted a former pipefitter in New York a $28.5 million award after claiming that he developed lung cancer due to exposure to asbestos-related materials during the original construction of the World Trade Center. The exposure allegedly occurred while working with fireproofing insulation on the steel beams and elevator shafts of the building.

On August 28, the New York County Supreme Court jury held The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Mario & DiBono Plastering Company Inc., and Tishman Realty & Construction Company Inc. responsible for the damages awarded to James Petro Sr. The jury allocated $13.5 million for past pain and suffering and $15 million for future pain and suffering.

Judge Lyle Frank presided over the trial, and the jury determined the percentages of liability for each defendant. The Port Authority was found 25 percent liable, Mario & DiBono 30 percent liable, and Tishman 15 percent liable. All three defendants were deemed reckless, making them jointly and severally liable for the remaining 30 percent of responsibility.

Petro worked as a union pipefitter during the construction of the World Trade Center, which took place from 1966 to 1975. According to his complaint, Tishman was the general contractor, while the Port Authority controlled the site and construction details. Petro was present on site when DiBono applied the insulation, and he later developed lung cancer, allegedly due to inhaling asbestos fibers released during the insulation process.

The defendants attempted to attribute Petro’s lung cancer to his smoking habits, but the plaintiff’s legal team argued that he had quit smoking in 1970. Alternatively, the defendants pointed to other asbestos exposures as potential causes of Petro’s illness.

Expert witnesses who testified on behalf of the plaintiff included Dr. Arthur Frank, Dr. David Zhang, Dr. Steven Markowitz, Dr. Barry Castleman, and Steven Paskal. The defense relied on experts Drs. Louis Kyriakoudes and Benjamin Safirstein.

petro lung cancer asbestos case

Legal representation for the plaintiff was provided by Danny Kraft and Kush Shukla of Meirowitz & Wasserberg LLP in New York, while the defendants were represented by Jeff Fegan of Clyde & Co. US LLP in New York, Tim Gallagher of McMahon Martine & Gallagher LLP in Trenton, New Jersey, and Raghu Bandlamudi of Manning Gross & Massenburg LLP in New York.


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