The Firm

OUR HISTORY

Goldberg, Persky & White, P.C. began more than 30 years ago when six attorneys started their own practice to help working people. Originally with Baskin and Sears, these six worked in the Frick Building and filed lawsuits for people suffering from lung diseases from working with asbestos products.

As one of the first law firms in the country to sue the manufacturers of asbestos products for causing asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma in their clients, these attorneys became pioneers in asbestos litigation. They conducted depositions and obtained corporate documents to show the manufacturers knew the products were deadly prior to production yet chose to keep the dangers silent in fear of hurting sales. The documents and depositions gathered are still used today by law firms around the country working in asbestos litigation.

Soon a problem developed: several of the companies the attorneys filed suit against were clients of Baskin and Sears and were unhappy to learn they were being sued by attorneys who worked for the law firm that represented them. As a result, the six lawyers left Baskin and formed Henderson and Goldberg in the mid-1980s. Staying in the Frick Building, they worked a few floors away from their former office.

As the firm began to grow, Henderson and Goldberg relocated to 1030 Fifth Avenue. Within the next few years, more attorneys were added and the practice continued to expand.

Changes in the firm led to a 1993 name change from Henderson and Goldberg to Goldberg, Persky, Jennings & White, P.C. When Jennings retired in 2004, the firm became Goldberg, Persky & White, P.C. The sale of the 1030 Fifth Ave building in 2015 led to relocation in October of that year to 11 Stanwix, Suite 1800, where the principle office of the firm resides today.

As one of the largest personal injury law firms in Western Pennsylvania, GPW expanded its practice and opened offices in Johnstown and Greensburg as well as Weirton, West Virginia, Detroit and Saginaw, Michigan.

MESOTHELIOMA ATTORNEYS

Have you been injured by asbestos? Exposure can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos-related diseases.

More than 30 years ago, the asbestos attorneys of Goldberg, Persky & White were pioneers in asbestos lawsuits; today, we are the largest law firm in Western Pennsylvania representing injured people. Our experience in asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits, our large collection of corporate evidence and expert testimonies, and our dedication to the victims of asbestos exposure make us local leaders in asbestos litigation.

We have represented thousands of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis victims. Because of our involvement in asbestos litigation from the beginning, our mesothelioma lawyers have a clear understanding of what is required to succeed, especially in mesothelioma lawsuits.

Working Lawyers for Working People

For over three decades GPW has worked defending the rights of construction tradesmen, chemical plant workers, and many other working men and women. Whether from long-term asbestos or chemical exposure, occupational injuries, or off-the-job accidents (medical malpractice, car accidents, defective drugs), we have helped thousands of people recover damages after a personal injury.

We are the largest law firm in Western Pennsylvania defending the rights of injured people. Our law firm also has offices in West Virginia and Michigan. Learn more about our personal injury law firms.

Asbestos Timeline

Asbestos litigation became prominent in the 1960s and 1970s, but suspicion about the adverse effects of asbestos exposure can be traced back centuries. Medical examinations on asbestos workers in the early 1900s laid the groundwork for continued research into the connection between asbestos exposure and disease and by the 1920s, the link was established. However, it wasn’t until the 1971 verdict of Borel v. Fiberboard that the asbestos industry began to admit responsibility for placing the lives of their workers at risk. Today, while not banned outright, asbestos is heavily regulated in the United States and many of the asbestos companies and manufacturers have declared bankruptcy due to the amount of lawsuits.

Adverse effects of asbestos observed

Archeological discoveries found asbestos use dates back thousands of years, when evidence of clay pots strengthened by asbestos fibers in Finland and ancient text describing a “magic mineral” that was heat resistant were discovered .The adverse effects of asbestos can also be traced back to the first century, when Greek geographer, Strabo and Roman Pliny the Elder noted a “sickness in the lungs of slaves,” who were tasked with weaving asbestos fibers into cloth.

Autopsies on asbestos workers reveal fibers in the lungs

Asbestosis can be traced back to the early 1900s after a post- mortem examination of a 33-year-old asbestos textile worker found fragments of asbestos fibers in the lung tissue. The individual who had been examined was the last survivor of a group of 10 men who had worked in the carding room of a factory in 1886. In 1917, Dr. Henry K. Pancoast from the University of Pennsylvania observed scarred lungs and asbestos fibers in the X-rays of 15 asbestos factory workers. Just a year later, a report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor noted and increase in the mortality rate of American asbestos-factory workers and that it had become common practice for insurance companies to not offer life-insurance policies to those who worked in conditions that were considered hazardous to one’s health.

The term "asbestosis" first appears in medical literature

The first time asbestosis appeared in medical literature was in 1924 after English physician Dr. W.E. Cooke performed a post-mortem examination of a patient who had over 13 years of asbestos exposure. The autopsy showed severe pulmonary fibrosis and strands of dense tissue (that were fibrous in nature), throughout the lungs and surrounding membrane. These findings led to numerous investigations throughout the mid-to-late 1920s that proved there was a direct relationship between asbestos exposure and the fibrosis (or scarring) of the lungs. However, in the United States, no such research was underway for asbestos workers, and compensation for those suffering from an asbestos-related disease didn’t surface until decades later.

Mesothelioma is connected to asbestos exposure

The term mesothelioma was coined in the early 1900s, but it wasn’t until over 50 years later the connection between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma was made. Medical researcher J.C. Wagner and physician Chris Sleggs had been hired by the South African government to study occupational hazards associated with mining crocidolite (blue asbestos). Their findings, published in the British Medical Journal of Medicine in 1960, showed a detailed account of 33 mesothelioma cases who all (but one) had a provable history of asbestos exposure. A few short years later in 1964, American physician Dr. Irving J. Selikoff investigated over 1,117 factory workers who produced and provided amosite-asbestos insulation for the Navy. Through pulmonary function tests, blood tests, and X-rays, Selikoff found evidence of asbestosis in half of the workers, with the extent of the disease being directly related to the length of asbestos exposure. Lung cancer instances were seven times the expected rate.

Landmark case sets precedent for future asbestos lawsuits

The case of Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Products Corporation et. al. was a landmark court case that set the precedent for product liability and personal injury claims for asbestos workers and their families. Clarence Borel had been an asbestos worker for 33 years who had developed asbestosis and mesothelioma by 1969. His initial complaint sought damages against 11 asbestos-insulation manufacturers: Fiberboard Paper Products, Johns-Manville, UNARCO, Ruberoid, Eagle-Pitcher, Pittsburgh Corning, Owens-Corning, Combustion Engineering, Philip Carey Corporation, the Armstrong Contracting & Supply Corporation, and the Standard Asbestos Manufacturing & Insulation Company. Prior to this case, an injured worker’s only recourse was to file a workers compensation claim against his employer for his lung disease. The doctrine of strict liability (Section 402A) aided in Borel’s case, holding product manufacturers liable for neglecting to warn about their hazardous products and stay up-to-date on the latest scientific research. The verdict came back in favor of Borel (who did not live to see the outcome of the trial), which triggered over 25,000 asbestos lawsuits over the next decade. Workers suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis could now file product liability suits not only against their employers, but against product manufactures as well. This set the stage for asbestos lawsuits as we know them today.

Asbestos regulations in the United States

By 1973, asbestos consumption in the United States was at an all-time high (over 800,000 tons) but after the verdict in Borel v. Fibreboard started to become regulated. The EPA recognized asbestos as an air pollutant, and the ACGIH recognized it as a carcinogen to humans. OSHA came into existence in 1960 and its first action was to ban the use of asbestos containing insulation. Over the next decade, spray applications, pipe and block insulation, and wall patching compounds, were all banned. The permissible exposure limit (PEL) defined and enforced by OSHA was reduced four times since the initial setting in 1971. Today, the PEL is .1 fibers/cc. Prior to OSHA, it was permissible to expose workers to up to 5 million particles of asbestos per cubic foot of air. The EPA attempted to ban asbestos entirely in 1989, but the final rule was over-turned in 1991. In 2016, the Toxic Substances Control Act was amended to allow the EPA to assess potentially harmful chemicals and products before they become available to the consumer. In 2018, the EPA proposed the Significant New Use Rule (SNUR), which is designed to investigate past uses of asbestos. Anti-asbestos advocates strongly believe that this curtails the plan to eventually ban asbestos as it still allows asbestos to be used in manufacturing allows it to be imported and does not take into consideration the different ways in which people can be exposed (i.e., through contaminated drinking water, air).

Asbestos Lawsuits Today

Asbestos litigation is the longest and most expensive mass tort in United States history. Since the first lawsuits began in the 1920s, there have more than 700,000 claimants, 8,000 defendants, and billions of dollars in damages. Many asbestos manufacturers filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy which allowed them to set up Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts to pay the personal injury claims to those suffering because of their asbestos exposure. As of 2017, over 100 companies have filed for bankruptcy. Today, asbestos lawsuits continue because the latency period between the time of initial asbestos exposure and disease development can span decades. Recent reports have indicated that mesothelioma rates could be on the rise until at least 2020.

FREE CASE EVALUATION

  • Never Pay a Fee Unless We Win Your Case!