Former SC Justice’s Asbestos Lawsuit Names Kamamalu Building as Defendant
Asbestos lawsuit filed by former Supreme Court Justice Hon. Mario Ramil names Kamamalu building as one of the defendants. Ramil worked there as State Insurance Commissioner from 1984 until 1987 in the basement office of the building. He passed away in January 2017 after developing asbestos-related lung cancer.
It was in October 2016 that Ramil filed his lawsuit that named a dozen businesses and manufacturers as defendants. The defendants include the Bank of Hawaii as well as the Hawaiian Trust Co that sold the building to the Hawaii state. In the lawsuit, the former Hawaii SC justice alleges that the building was in a dangerous and defective condition.
The lawsuit says Ramil was exposed to asbestos through insulation, floor tiles and acoustical ceiling plaster. The suit directly names the state. However, the office of the State Attorney General is eagerly watching how the lawsuit progresses. It is not immediately clear how the lawsuit could affect others who might have worked at offices in the downtown.
Francine Wai, the head of the Disabilities Communications Board, said she worked in the building in the 1970s and 80s and, therefore, knows that there were some asbestos issues.
In the suit, Ramil agrees that he had been a smoker for almost 40 years. He had also worked in the U.S. Navy where also he might’ve been exposed to the hazardous carcinogen through various products.
The Kamamalu building has been empty for nearly 14 years. The original renovation was expected to complete for approximately $12 million. However, with the asbestos abatement and unexpected delays, the cost has almost doubled.
Though Wai was not aware of the lawsuit filed by Ramil, she is expecting to move back into Kamamalu building with the asbestos threat. Her program is the
Wai wasn’t aware of the Ramil suit, but is looking forward to moving back into Kamamalu without the threat of asbestos. Her program will be the first to return on the building’s first floor with completely accessible offices.
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