of Environment, Office of Attorney General Obtain Largest-Ever
Maryland Asbestos Penalty against Erie Vera LLC
Baltimore Judge Finds Willful Activity, Imposes Maximum $1.2 Million
MD ( May 7, 2010) -The Department of the Environment
prevailed this week in an asbestos enforcement case in Baltimore
City Circuit Court. The Court imposed a civil penalty of $115,500
against 2315 St. Paul Street, LLC and the maximum penalty of
$1,225,000 against Erie Vera, LLC, finding the defendants’ actions
were willful and making this the largest penalty ever imposed
for an asbestos case in Maryland.
“The defendant showed no regard for the health of the workers
and the surrounding environment by not following the proper process
when removing asbestos,” said Attorney General Douglas F.
Gansler. “I am pleased that the State was able to secure
the largest asbestos penalty ever, sending a clear message that
we will continue to vigorously enforce Maryland's environmental
MDE Secretary Shari
T. Wilson said, “Maryland will continue
to fully enforce the laws that safeguard public health. The anonymous
tip that led MDE to the discovery of these illegal and unsafe actions
is a reminder of the important role Marylanders play in protecting
our environment and public health.”
On September 4, 2007, MDE’s asbestos program received an
anonymous complaint that asbestos was being disturbed during
renovation. MDE’s inspector observed asbestos debris, as
well as a large pile of asbestos contaminated debris, on each
floor of a large 6-story building. The debris was being shoveled
into a large garbage chute that descended five stories into an
open dumpster on the ground. There were no signs of engineering
controls, or wetting of the asbestos containing materials, as
is required by law. In addition, none of 15-20 workers on site
were using the required physical protection, such as respirators
or protective clothing.
ordered the owner to stop all work, immediately evacuate the
workers, and hire a licensed asbestos contractor to
decontaminate the building. Approximately 7,500 bags of asbestos
waste, including 1,500 linear feet of friable pipe insulation,
were generated during the decontamination
Asbestos is a hazardous air pollutant that is regulated by the
State and federal governments Asbestos-related diseases include
asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and digestive system cancers.
The State of Maryland regulates how persons work with asbestos
and also regulates those who train persons to work with asbestos.
Secretary Wilson and
Attorney General Gansler would like to thank MDE Inspector Tim
O’Hare and Assistant Attorney General Chris
Corzine for their work on this case.