Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer and Asbestos

Respiratory Difficulty Caused

Asbestos fibres enter the lungs and do not leave

Many Canadians are still regularly exposed to asbestos where they work, visit, go to school or live. Asbestos exposure can cause deadly lung cancer and diseases such as mesothelioma years after the asbestos fibres are inhaled.  The indestructible fibres cause respiratory difficulty, but over time can lead to deadly diseases such as Mesothelioma.  Severe illness can develop many years after asbestos exposure. Claims are made and compensation is mainly paid by asbestos trusts to people whose asbestos exposure was over 30 years ago when there were less safeguards in the use and removal of asbestos.  Compensation for those who suffer and the families of those who have died from mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious asbestos related diseases  is available to Canadians, not just Americans.  If you are in Canada, you do not need to hire a US lawyer to make a claim. You can be better served by a lawyer in Canada who can better understand your situation, Canadian Workers Compensation laws, Canadian workplace and other sources of asbestos exposure and our very different health care system. Miskin Law Offices is one of very few Canadian law firms that is registered with the US asbestos trusts and directly handles asbestos compensation claims. We have been working primarily in asbestos claims for almost a decade. We look at a person’s entire work history for clues about the source of asbestos exposure.  When exposure is not from work we consider alternative ways that a person may have been exposed to asbestos.  For the Miskin Law firm asbestos injury claims from across Canada are our main area of law practice.

Miskin Law Offices are based in Ontario, but we represent clients from all across Canada, in all Provinces and Territories, in making claims to American asbestos trusts.  This is not a lawsuit and you do not go to court to get compensation. They are essentially applications for asbestos compensation to funds set up when almost makers of asbestos products were put into bankruptcy by the many claims made against them based on harm caused by their products. Applications for our clients are made to many asbestos trusts and our clients get compensation from multiple sources.  The asbestos trusts are based in the United States and we work as needed with American lawyers to advance our cases with a contingency fee split between our firm and the US law firm so our clients pay no more for having both Canadian and American representation.  We work with UK lawyers to get compensation from insurers and others where exposure was in the UK.  The American asbestos trusts do not pay people whose only exposure was in the UK or countries other than the USA or Canada.  Our clients do not pay more to have Canadian representation and applicable  GST/HST is included in the contingency fee. Many people exposed to asbestos in their workplace are eligible for Workers Compensation benefits and often have a CHOICE on whether to claim Workers Compensation or apply to the asbestos trusts. It is important to get specific legal advice BEFORE applying for Workers Compensation. Which Workers Compensation Board a person applies to is based on the Province where work with asbestos was done which is not necessarily the Province where a person lives.  Alberta workers only exposed to asbestos in Alberta are required to apply for Alberta Workers Compensation benefits and if found eligible may not apply to the asbestos trusts. Eligibility for Workers Compensation by province is based on where you worked not where you now live.   Sometimes more than one Province is involved.  In some cases, particularly with younger victims it may be preferable to apply for Workers Compensation and with victims past retirement age, it is generally better to apply to the asbestos trusts. Individual advice should still be sought in all cases.

It has been known for many years that asbestos exposure is dangerous to health of people especially when fibres are inhaled and get into the lungs. Asbestos can stay in the lungs for many years without a person knowing it is there. There are serious long term consequences of asbestos exposure.  The asbestos diseases include asbestosis, certain forms of lung cancer and the condition of mesothelioma.  Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining (known as the mesothelium) of the lungs or another organ. It is generally considered a form of lung cancer but it is not always associated with the lungs.  Mesothelioma can develop 20-50 years after even just a little exposure to asbestos.  Mesothelioma was thought to be a very rare condition but it is appearing more commonly because it takes a long time to develop and it was not always diagnosed properly in the past. Mesothelioma can only be caused by asbestos and maximum asbestos compensation is available for this horrific and generally fatal disease. For more information on Asbestos visit our website:

The very serious diseases from asbestos affect people who have worked with asbestos, had loose fibres in their workplace (sometimes from or after asbestos removal) and people who have been exposed by their family members who may have come home from a hard day of work with asbestos on their bodies or their clothes.

If a loved one has developed one of these conditions in Canada, the UK or the USA and is seriously ill or has died due to asbestos exposure it can be proven with medical records and compensation will follow.  Doctors can confirm causation by asbestos when the diagnosis is made. A biopsy for lung cancer victims is most effective. Asbestos compensation is available for Canadians from a number of U.S. trusts set up for that purpose.  To maximize compensation Miskin law offices needs to know the source of exposure to asbestos for us to determine which manufacturers were involved and where claims may be placed. If a person has died from asbestos illness a number of years ago the available claims are limited by the delay in proceeding. Some of the asbestos trusts have longer time limits so it is worth checking if there is a positive diagnosis even if the death was long ago. We will investigate possible claims for no cost or obligation and if at the end of our investigation we can not help you there is no charge.

Our law offices do not handle claims related to removal of asbestos from homes or other properties nor do we sue employers for asbestos exposure or illness. We also do not take on cases involving fear of possible asbestos illness. Miskin law offices only handles cases involving people who have serious asbestos illness.


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Yaz Yasmin Class Action Certified: What are the Next Steps?

Canadian Class Action

Ontario residents must decide before February 7, 2015 whether to be part of the Yaz and Yasmin class action or to pursue an individual claim. 



Many individual law suits in the USA,  and Canadian Class Action lawsuits are in progress over the side effects of the two similar birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin. In Canada there are class action proceedings, with the one in Ontario now certified for Ontario residents only, and allowed by the court to proceed with the Mackenzie Lake firm having carriage of the proceedings.  The certification order for Ontario was actually made in April of 2013 with appeals dismissed in September 2013 and after considerable delay formalized in November 2014.  For persons outside Ontario and Quebec there will be a certification hearing for the class action on February 15, 2015.   There is a class action in Quebec as well for Quebec residents.  There is no certification news on the Quebec action and it is likely to settle when the Ontario action settles. There is little doubt that eventually Canadians in every Province and Territory who suffered harm from these drugs will get compensation.

Miskin Law Office is making claims for individual Canadians all of whom are now automatically in the class action.  If you have a claim you do not need to be specifically listed anywhere and can on settlement submit your claim within the class action. You may also proceed to make your own claim outside of the class action.  Ontario resident claimants  have a choice to make by February 9, 2015 on whether to be part of the class action and bound by ANY settlement of it or to proceed with an individual claim.  We are now advising our clients of their rights and considerations for the decision to stay in or to opt out of the class action.  If you get legal representation your lawyer can guide you through the choices to be made and can document and submit your claim when there is a settlement.  Here is some information on the nature of the claim against Bayer:

Serious side effects of Yaz and Yasmin include deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and very commonly loss of the gallbladder.   Those cases were being fought by the manufacturer Bayer in different US districts where they are co-ordinated in Multi District Litigation (MDLs). The courts in Illinois and Pennsylvania ordered  mediation to take place before cases were to go to trial in early 2012. In the mediation process Bayer agreed in early March 2012 to a settlement in 70  lawsuits.  This has progressed so that most cases are now settled.  There are now over 8,000 settlements of the most serious cases involving deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism in the USA in the range of $200,000 each for a total of about $1.7 Billion.  In the US there are still over 5,000 additional claims involving venous or arterial thromboembolism injury. Gallbladder cases have settled for much less.  Gallbladder cases in the US are settled at $2,000 dollars for gall bladder injury and $3,000 where the gall bladder is removed.  In Canada there is no settlement for any claims yet but settlements when they happen are generally much lower than they are in the US and so expectations on all cases should be lower.   As the US gall bladder cases are settling for small amounts we are more likely to see similar level settlements in Canada if payment is made on gall bladder cases.  Larger claims involving more serious harm are the ones which may be better served by leaving the class action where more extreme compromise may occur in a settlement.

We are hopeful that some progress will be made towards resolving claims in Canada following the decision giving certification to the Canadian Yaz and Yasmin Class Action lawsuit.  We are hoping they will settle gallbladder cases as well as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism cases as part of the likely future class action settlement. The greatest number of claims relate to gallbladder where nominal settlements if any should be expected in Canada.   The pills continue to be sold and to be very profitable for Bayer.  A recommendation to recall the drug was narrowly defeated by an advisory committee to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Bayer has changed its advertisements and product warnings since then so that it would be difficult to make a claim in a new case. In the UK and other countries stronger warnings are now given out with the product.  Once the product warning is sufficient there is less basis to make a claim if there is a negative result of using the product.  The Canadian class action is focussed on those who had adverse effects before there was a warning of the danger.   THE CANADIAN CLASS ACTION BASED IN ONTARIO HAS BEEN LIMITED TO CLAIMS FOR INCIDENTS UP TO NOVEMBER 30, 2011 SO IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM THAT CAME UP AFTER THAT DATE IT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE CLASS ACTION AND IT WOULD BE GOOD TO CONTACT A LAWYER IN YOUR OWN PROVINCE IMMEDIATELY TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS BY ISSUING A CLAIM. PERSONS COVERED BY THE CLASS ACTION ARE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE TO OPT OUT AND PURSUE AN INDIVIDUAL CLAIM OR TO DO NOTHING AND REMAIN IN THE CLASS ACTION.  THERE IS PERSONAL RISK AND EXPENSE TO STARTING YOUR OWN ACTION AND NO RISK IN STAYING INSIDE THE CLASS ACTION.  WE ARE RECOMMENDING OPT OUT IN THE CASES OF MOST SERIOUS INJURY.

Yaz or Yasmin can cause dehydration which causes an increase in the potassium levels (hyperkalemia) and a decrease in the sodium levels (hyponatremia) in the body.  As potassium acts as a key control in cardiac rhythm, this imbalance can cause hyperkalemia arrhythmias, which, in turn can cause blood clots and thrombotic events such as stroke or deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or heart attack. Dehydration is also a risk factor for kidney stones and gallbladder disease. While other birth control pills can also cause deep vein thrombosis and other thrombotic events, the cause of those effects are from the estrogen side of the equation. The thrombotic effects of Yaz and Yasmin are from the progesterin side. While it has long been accepted that high estrogen levels can cause these adverse events, the birth control pills Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella have been marketed as having low estrogen levels, thereby having a lower risk for thrombotic events. There have been several studies that have called this into question.
The Miskin Law firm is making claims related to these birth control drugs and working with the class action court proceedings that have been started in Ontario Canada. These proceedings take a long time to advance and they stop individual law suits from proceeding for now. An application for certification of the class action was heard in the Ontario court in late January 2013 before Justice D.S. Crane.  A decision was made  on April 15, 2013 to certify the class action.  The judge released reasons for decision where he rejected arguments against certifying the class action.  He expressed concern over the proposed timetable for proceedings and there have been further discussions before a formal certification order is actually given.  The decision was delayed in implementation as it was appealed by Bayer who on September 5, 2013 lost in court in its attempt for leave to appeal.   Steps in the class action now can now proceed for Ontario residents with a formal court order of certification of the class action issues.  We are still working to document our clients’ claims and we are being retained by new clients.  We are not the class action lawyers. We represent individual people to get them compensation both individually and through the class action process. Once there is certification by the court of the class action for people in particular jurisdictions they will have a choice of claiming through it, or trying to get more with special circumstances in an individual claim. As applicable we are writing to our clients to explain the option to each of our clients. For now this only applies to people in Ontario.  If you do not yet have a lawyer, contact us if you believe you have been harmed by Yaz or Yasmin birth control pills. Most importantly keep all evidence of prescriptions including receipts, pill bottles and summaries that your pharmacist can provide. If you think you have a claim call our office and speak with Angela (Press 3) or email Murray Miskin directly:

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Murray Miskin and Personal Injury Law


Miskin Law, 1-877-428-8000

In the Durham Region and Peterborough and the Kawarthas in Ontario there are a few currently practicing local lawyers who are knowledgable and experienced in personal injury law.  One of them is Murray Miskin.  Murray Miskin graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School and started with the established Plaintiff personal injury firm Phelan, O’Brien in Toronto in 1979 first as an articling student and then as a lawyer until 1982.  He continued that type of work with the late Ed Futerman then of the Aiken, Capp firm from 1982 to 1985 before going on his own to serve the communities east of Toronto from offices in Whitby and Peterborough.  Murray Miskin has extensive jury and other trial experience going back to 1981.  Murray Miskin is a  lawyer who can advise people what to do in the confusing and competitive world of personal injury insurance legal claims.  Insurance law related to motor vehicle accidents in Ontario has grown more complicated over the years and there are few lawyers based in the local area with as much personal injury experience as Murray Miskin.  That experience is mostly put to use in mediation of personal injury cases but we continue to represent some clients in cases where we consider it appropriate. The Miskin Law Firm mainly works on national cases now and accepts clients from all Canadian Provinces and Territories.  When a person suffers an injury that causes harm, pain and suffering and financial losses or the death of a loved one it is hard to know where to turn.  We will help you find the way.

Many Toronto based law firms claim to be the best, the toughest, the most experienced and even the most compassionate to fight for you.  Any lawyer can advertise or establish an internet presence that will make you think they really the biggest and/or the best.  Who can you trust?  You need to decide and you can get a referral from someone you do trust  who knows somebody or who had a personal experience that was positive.  You may also hear negative remarks about certain lawyers which sometimes are fair and sometimes are not.  Many referrals are based on gossip, exaggerated success stories and partial information so do be careful when someone says they heard a certain lawyer is the best for any type of case.

The Miskin Law Office is here to help you.  We do not try to compete for motor vehicle accident injury claims as there are too many players out there who have bigger ad budgets than we do.  We do have the skill and the experience it takes to assess a personal injury claim and decide how best to proceed.  Murray Miskin has worked mainly on personal injury cases since graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1979 and has considerable experience from many trials.  It does take years to get to trial usually and there is much risk and expense involved.  Now Murray’s focus is on resolving claims sooner where possible through negotiation or mediation. We also handle a number of specialized claims on a national basis related to dangerous products such as asbestos and some prescription drugs class actions such as Vioxx, Lipitor, Yaz and Yasmin.  Sometimes we will handle an injury claim by ourselves and sometimes we will refer it to a bigger firm with more resources or bring in the bigger firm to assist us. Usually our clients want us to stay involved advising them and not just send them elsewhere. Sometimes it really is a major battle and to have a chance you need to bring in more resources than a small local law firm can offer on its own.  When we do involve another law firm the legal fees are shared and do not increase for the client.  If you have a good claim law firms will compete to handle it on a contingency fee basis.  That means that you do not pay the lawyer until and unless they get you money and they then take an agreed upon percentage for the work they do.

When you have an injury claim call Miskin Law first for honest advice that comes from many years of experience.  We do not charge for a first meeting and there is no obligation to proceed with us or to take our advice.  Murray Miskin’s office in Peterborough or Whitby may be local to  you and you will be comfortable coming in and dealing with our firm.  When you come to us parking is always free too.  If we are not local to you we will still talk to you on the phone and with a very serious claim involving injury that limits travel we will come to you.  We explain in detail how the system works and take the mystery out of the legal and insurance system.

Call or email us with your enquiry and we promise to do our best to help.  When calling press 1 to speak with Murray Miskin or press 4 to speak with Linda our personal injury law clerk. For asbestos cases speak with Murray or our senior law clerk Anna (press 2) who is now working exclusively on asbestos cases.  For general enquiries or information on pharmaceutical cases speak with our legal assistant Angel by pressing 3.

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Auto Insurance Changes Coming – Again

Ontario changes again

Where is auto insurance going?

This review of impending Ontario auto insurance legislation changes was written by Murray Miskin, an Ontario lawyer, with over 30 years experience in motor vehicle litigation practice who now privately mediates auto accident injury claims in addition to offering courses in arbitration.

Since 1990 auto insurance personal injury claims have been governed in Ontario by a no-fault system. By that it is meant that most compensation for injury in accidents comes from benefits paid under a government regulated standard Ontario auto policy. Before then, there were limited no fault benefits available for medical expenses and loss of income from a person’s own insurer, but most compensation came from liability claims where a lawsuit was brought against the at-fault driver and vehicle owner where liability insurance covered drivers for such claims and paid out any victim who made a claim who was not the at-fault driver.

With the no-fault based system there are still liability claims but they are restricted, and in most cases are not allowed. To be able to make a successful injury liability claim now, a person must have very serious and permanent injury or death. If you believe this may apply to your situation get advice right away from a lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable about personal injury claims. For any injury from a motor vehicle accident in Ontario, a no-fault benefits claim may be made. If you have your own auto insurance policy it gives coverage to you and your household members even if your automobile is not involved in the accident. If there is no auto insurance policy for anyone in your home you can be covered under the policy of the car you may be in at the time or another car involved in the accident. For example, if you are a bicyclist or pedestrian without your own insurance, who is hit by a car, the insurance for the car that hit you will pay no fault benefits. If you are insured by your own policy, ask your broker or insurance company about optional coverage that provides more no-fault benefits with a higher level of coverage at a fairly low additional cost.

Since 1990, there have been many changes in the Ontario no-fault system. More changes are coming with the dispute resolution system for such claims. When you claim no-fault benefits the insurer has a right to dispute your claim and refuse to pay some things. To be payable, a medical treatment must be considered both “reasonable and necessary due to the accident”. Insurers may have their own medical advisors who disagree with recommended treatment. There also are disputes over loss of income claims where the insurance pays income replacement benefits to a person who is off work because of accident injuries.  Where there is a dispute, a person must request Mediation where an independent government employed mediator tries to help the person settle with the insurer on some compromise basis. If mediation fails to get an agreement, the person may request Arbitration or sue in court. The arbitrator or the court after hearing evidence can impose a ruling on the parties to the dispute.

A judge recently reviewed the auto insurance accident benefits system for the government and made recommendations for streamlining the dispute resolution process. The Ontario Government is going ahead with changes through Bill 15 that was introduced in the Ontario Legislature on July 15. It is likely that those changes will become the law in 2015. Under the new system there will be no more actual Mediation and no option to go to court if mediation fails to resolve a dispute. There will be an Arbitration process using members of an independent panel of decision-makers who are paid by the Government for each day they work. It will be part of the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) which currently handles decisions and appeals of a variety of Ontario Government regulated disputes. We can expect new postings for LAT panelists once the changes are given final approval by the Ontario Legislature.  Persons who dispute an insurers decision will then have a right to file for arbitration with LAT.  There will be a settlement meeting during the process instead of a mediation to encourage parties to a dispute to settle. This will be part of the arbitration process and, in fact, it already is done as part of arbitration in the current system. With the initial mediation process removed, the system will do less to encourage settlement.

Is this new system a better way? I believe it is not, but it is intended to speed up the process by taking out steps and save a lot of money which should help the Government in its goal of reducing auto insurance premiums.


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