County Employees File Asbestos Suit

Earlier this week, sixteen Cayuga County (NY) Board of Elections employees filed suit against the county, alleging ongoing exposure to asbestos during a removal project that took place last year.

According to an article in the Auburn Citizen, the summons, filed Tuesday by Auburn attorney Carl DePalma, accuses the county of negligence in allowing day-to-day operations to continue in the Board of Elections building despite the illegal removal of asbestos last year. The suit argues that all 16 employees were “unknowingly exposed to cancer-causing asbestos” between the months of February and August 2006.

The list of plaintiffs includes Republican Election Commissioner Cheryl Heary as well as deputy commissioners Thomas Prystal and Deborah Calarco.

“The acts by the defendant were arbitrary, conscience-shocking, outrageous, egregious and made in knowing violation of numerous constitutional principles as well as federal, state and local laws and regulations,” the summons document states. “The plaintiffs were directed and/or suffered and/or caused and/or permitted to work at the time of the aforementioned exposures.”

Last week, DePalma filed a similar suit on behalf of six county prison inmates who were made to work on a boiler removal project where asbestos was present. The men were given no protective gear to wear during the removal.

DePalma says he plans to file another lawsuit before week’s end – this one on behalf of any members of the public that may have been exposed to asbestos while visiting the Board of Elections during that same time period.

Anthony Garropy, the county employee who acted as a whistleblower and alerted authorities as to the illegal asbestos removal, filed a lawsuit against the county on October 16th. He is seeking damages as well as the return of his job.

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