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The Nassau Coliseum is plagued by troubles. In addition to losing their primary hockey franchise to a newer stadium, the long-standing sports venue is now facing premises liability lawsuits from 140 claimants, all former employees of the New York arena. They claim that exposure to asbestos at the Coliseum has lead to a variety of serious health issues.

An investigation into the safety of the Coliseum is ongoing; so far, no asbestos has been recorded in public areas. However, several areas frequented by employees have been found to contain the toxic substance. The building has fallen into considerable disrepair over its lifetime, and the accusations of asbestos are likely unsurprising for a building of its age.

The 140 injured parties range from maintenance staff to Zamboni drivers, and given the number of premises liability lawsuits pending, it is anticipated the case may become class-action litigation. According to current reports, the injured parties will be asking between $500 million and $1 billion in reparations. Legal representation for the Coliseum itself has dismissed the claims of asbestos poisoning as without merit.

Premises liability issues are at the center of this case, as the owners and operators of the Coliseum are accused of failing to maintain the structure in accordance with health and safety standards. Asbestos poisoning is a serious health concern, as it can lead to long-term respiratory damage as well as a host of other ailments. Given that asbestos has already been discovered in some of the famous New York stadium’s personnel-only areas, there is a likelihood that the plaintiffs will earn their day in court to present their claims. In New York as elsewhere, it is up to employers to provide a safe and healthy work environment: if they do not, they may be held liable for any damages accrued in a court of law.

Source: Examiner.com, “Nassau Coliseum: A house divided by asbestos lawsuits – New York Nassau Coliseum,” Paul Wolfle, March 25, 2013