California Mesothelioma and Asbestos Laws

What is Mesothelioma in California

Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive tumor linked to asbestos exposure. Also called malignant mesothelioma, it frequently forms in a membrane called mesothelium that lines the lungs and chest cavity, but it can attack the tissue covering the heart, abdomen, and other organs of the human body. The symptoms or signs of mesothelioma include dyspnea (shortness of breath), unexplained weight loss, pain under the rib cage, coughing, fatigue, and abdominal swelling.

Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma have either lived or worked in places where they regularly inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers. These individuals do not find out that they have the cancer until much later because the symptoms manifest slowly, and the disease has a long latency period — typically 20 to 40 years or as much as 71 years from the initial causative exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the United States, it is estimated that mesothelioma causes roughly 2,500 deaths annually (per the most recent report by the CDC), with approximately 3,000 new cases occurring each year. Among the states in America, California ranks as having the highest Mesothelioma-related incidence and mortality rates, recording 6,503 cases and 5,008 deaths, respectively, from 1999 to 2018 alone.

History of Mesothelioma in California

Scientifically, the principal cause of mesothelioma (over 80% of cases) has long been identified as contact with asbestos, a human carcinogen that is not completely banned worldwide.

Asbestos is a generic term that refers to a group of six naturally-occurring fibrous minerals resistant to heat, fire, chemicals, and corrosion: amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, anthophyllite, actinolite, and tremolite. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the use of asbestos spans thousands of years, but modern usage did not begin until about 125 years ago. Specifically, asbestos use in the United States started in the late 1800s and reached its highest point in the early 1970s, with over 800,000 metric tons manufactured or imported in 1973.

Hence, prior to the 1900s, the inherent dangers of asbestos were hardly known in the country, and the lethal mineral was widely mined and used in many products, including pipes for insulation, hairdryers, talcum powder, vehicle brakes and clutches, floor tiles, plastic products, construction materials, ceiling materials, textiles, and in materials for shipbuilding and repair.

Coined as the magic mineral, some factors that contributed to the mass popularity of asbestos in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, besides durability, was the mineral's inexpensiveness, availability, and flexibility. In California, especially, not only can naturally-occurring asbestos (NOA) deposits be found in at least 44 out of 58 counties, but the state was one of the leading asbestos producers in the United States at the time.

Today, while the use of asbestos is highly regulated in California, the mineral is still present in the environment. Besides the naturally-occurring asbestos, it is not unusual to find the compound in older buildings (homes, schools, commercial buildings), driveways paved with ultramafic or serpentine rock (where asbestos is commonly found), and unpaved roads.

NOA and asbestos-containing materials (ACM) or products are generally deemed non-hazardous when in good condition. However, if disturbed or damaged (broken, burned, crushed, washed away, scraped, etc.), the minerals become airborne and pose substantial health risks. For example, as NOA can occur in the soils and rocks around residential areas, the fibers could be released during everyday activities like riding horses, vacuuming, digging or shoveling dirt, gardening, children playing in the dirt, cleaning sidewalks with a leaf blower, remodeling, etc. Particles could also be dispersed due to natural disasters (like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes), industrial accidents, and terror attacks.

Asbestos fibers are microscopic (not visible to the naked eye), have no odor or taste, do not evaporate, and are insolvent in water. For this reason, many citizens have already been exposed and remain unaware of it. This exposure may occur directly, may come from living with a person who works with asbestos, living close to an asbestos mine or factory, or it may be hereditary (a person may have a genetic predisposition to the disease if their parent or sibling had the cancer).

As noted earlier, when someone breathes in or swallows asbestos fibers, it can become trapped in their lungs or other organs over time, which can lead to malignant mesothelioma (or other serious diseases like lung cancer and asbestosis). However, exposure does not necessarily mean health issues, as the likelihood of developing the disease rests on a host of factors. For example, gender and age are often important factors as more men than women, and more people aged 65+, are likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Generally, it is still unclear what the safe level of asbestos exposure is and how much exposure can cause mesothelioma.

Compared to other kinds of cancer, malignant mesothelioma is extremely uncommon — accounting for fewer than 0.2% of cancer cases in the country. It is also difficult to diagnose. One cause is the extended duration between exposure and the first symptoms. Another is that it often mimics other diseases. All contribute to why its history is constrained. Indeed, while records of the disease date back to 1767, it was not until the 1960s that mesothelioma was conclusively tied to asbestos exposure, and not until 1986 that the California Air Resources Board deemed asbestos a toxic air contaminant.

Mesothelioma Survival Rate in California

Mesothelioma is a highly fatal cancer with a dire survival rate, as it is often discovered in the later stages when patients may not be able to endure aggressive treatments, and it has no definitive cure. From data collated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the median survival rate for patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in the country is approximately 12 months.

Altogether, several individual factors influence the survival rates of malignant mesothelioma, including:

  • Age at diagnosis and overall health
  • Gender
  • Stage at diagnosis
  • Tumor location: This reveals what type of mesothelioma a person has:
    • Pleural (lining the lung)
    • Peritoneal (lining the abdomen)
    • Pericardial (lining the heart), or
    • Testicular (lining the testes)
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Histology (the Mesothelioma cell type)
  • Treatment

For instance, pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma are the most common types of mesothelioma, with the former accounting for about 80% to 85% of cases and the latter for 10% to 15% of cases. (The other two types of mesothelioma account for fewer than 5% of cases in the country.) Per a 2018 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the median overall survival (OS) rate for pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma is 14 and 31 months, respectively. In other words, people diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma often survive longer.

It is possible to analyze the mesothelioma survival rates in California (excluding San Francisco, San Jose-Monterey, and Los Angeles) based on some individual factors using the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. For example, SEER displays 5-year relative survival rates within a specific period. The NCI defines relative survival rate as an estimate of the percentage of people diagnosed with mesothelioma who would be expected to survive. In simpler terms, it reveals the percentage of people still alive within a certain period (at least 5 years) after diagnosis.

SEER's most current timeframe (2011-2017) puts the 5-year relative survival rate of mesothelioma for all ages, stages, and races/ethnicities at 18.2% for females, 9.1% for males, and 11.5% for both sexes.

It is imperative to note that the above statistics are generalized and based on the outcomes of previous cases. For this reason, they should only act as a point of reference, as the disease advances individually and a person could beat the odds. Ultimately, it is advisable to speak to a doctor familiar with a victim's illness and treatment plan to get an accurate prognosis.

Where is Asbestos Found in California

Naturally occurring asbestos (NOA), a result of natural geologic processes, is present in many counties in California; thus, there are more than a few California asbestos exposure sites. Most commonly, asbestos is found in ultramafic rock formations, including serpentine (California's state rock), in soils harboring these rock types, and near earthquake fault zones. According to the California Environmental Protection Agency and Air Resources Board, the quantity of asbestos in such places could be less than 1% or up to 25% or more.

NOA occurrences vary widely in California, from long, thin veins only some millimeters thick to large deposits spanning several square miles. Research by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and California Geological Survey (CGS) has so far identified asbestos occurrences, ultramafic/serpentine rock, and fibrous amphibole occurrences in 53 out of California's 58 counties. The five counties with no such occurrences are Ventura, Alpine, Modoc, Lassen, and Sutter.

Precisely, 41 out of California's 58 counties have at least one locatable incidence of asbestos. The exempt counties include the five stated previously and the following:

  1. Humboldt
  2. Orange
  3. San Joaquin
  4. San Mateo
  5. Santa Cruz
  6. Solano
  7. Stanislaus
  8. Tehama

Per the departments' survey, four other counties have asbestos occurrences known or reported in literature, but their locations are non-specific. These counties are Merced, Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.

When Was Asbestos Banned in California?

Technically, asbestos is not banned in California. It can still be found in many structures and areas. Also, the mineral is still used in commercial products and industrial processes, though much less than in the past.

However, several state and federal bodies strictly control the use, processing, importation, and distribution of asbestos to limit its health and environmental hazards, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). As a result, irrespective of the absence of a full asbestos ban, partial bans exist on some asbestos-containing materials and products, most established at the federal level.

As an illustration, the 1973 ban by the Environmental Protection Agency prohibits the use of spray-applied surfacing asbestos-containing materials for insulation or fireproofing. The agency's 1975 ban also restricts the installation of asbestos pipe and block insulations on facility components, such as hot water tanks and boilers, if the materials are pre-formed or wet-applied and friable (easily crumbled by hand pressure) after drying. Additionally, the Consumer Product Safety Commission's 1977 ban forbids asbestos use in artificial emberizing materials (ash and embers) and consumer patching compounds.

A regulatory timeline of the partial bans (including the relevant statutory citations) can be found on the EPA's Actions to Protect the Public from Exposure to Asbestos webpage.

California Laws & Regulations on Mesothelioma

California has numerous laws and regulations controlling the handling and disposal of asbestos, the leading cause of mesothelioma in the state. Some of these laws can be found in the California Code of Regulations — for example, under Title 8: Industrial Relations and Title 22, Division 4.5: Environmental Health Standards for the Management of Hazardous Waste — and in the California Health and Safety Code.

In addition to state legislation, there are federal laws and regulations on asbestos. A comprehensive list can be retrieved from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Asbestos Laws and Regulations site. Similarly, a chart containing asbestos regulations in the United States and California can be retrieved from the California Department of Transportation's (Caltrans) site.

Departments Overseeing Mesothelioma Laws in California

Various federal and state government departments implement laws limiting the public's risk to mesothelioma in California. At the forefront federally are the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The EPA administers federal environmental laws in California and other jurisdictions to protect the public against toxic air pollutants and contaminants like asbestos. Meanwhile, OSHA ensures and improves safe and healthy working conditions for workers in the construction, general industry, and shipyard sectors.

Other federal regulators include:

  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission: protects U.S. consumers and families from hazardous or harmful products. The agency also educates the public on asbestos-containing products, offers safety guidelines for removing or repairing asbestos, and provides laboratories for asbestos testing.
  • The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA): sees to the health and safety of miners in the country.

At the state level, the Cal/OSHA's Asbestos and Carcinogen Unit enforces safety and health standards for people who work with asbestos in California. Below are some other regulatory agencies in the state:

Occupational Regulations for Asbestos-Related Jobs in California

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 125 million people are exposed to asbestos at workplaces worldwide. In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration attributes heavy asbestos exposure to the shipbuilding and repair, general industry, and construction sectors, with current occupational exposures occurring mainly during maintenance operations, repair and demolition work, and the removal of asbestos-containing materials.

Hazardous occupational exposures not only present a risk to workers but also to their families and dependents, as secondary exposure could occur when fibers are inhaled from work clothes.

As a result, there are stringent asbestos regulations covering industrial and commercial operations nationwide.

In California, these regulations are overseen by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, popularly known as Cal/OSHA, and codified at:

More information on California's occupational regulations can be obtained from Cal/OSHA's asbestos information page.

Mesothelioma Infection Rate in California

California's mesothelioma infection rate is higher than other U.S. states. One reason for this is the abundance of naturally-occurring asbestos (NOA) in the state's mountainous regions.

The second reason pertains to the state's coastline. California has one of the longest coastlines in the United States, and during the asbestos boom in the late 90s and early 20th century, numerous shipyards and marine repair facilities were situated along the shores. Because asbestos was ideal for insulation and other fireproofing purposes, it was commonly used for the shipbuilding and repair process. All this caused and still contributes to the widespread exposure to asbestos-related diseases in the state, despite regulatory measures and the decline in asbestos use.

In addition, California was notable for asbestos mining and production, which contributed to a significant part of the state's economy in the 1900s. In fact, the King City Asbestos Company (KCAC) mine — the last operating asbestos mine in the United States, which closed in 2002 — was operated in the state. The mine worked a large chrysotile deposit in the Coalinga district of San Benito and Fresno counties. From a report prepared by the United States Geological Survey and California Geological Survey, California's total asbestos production possibly exceeded 1,650,000 short tons from 1887 to 2002. More than 99 percent of the production between 1960 and 2002 was chrysotile, the key contaminant in a majority of mesothelioma cases and other asbestos diseases.

The latest research conducted in 2018 due to the natural and man-made occurrences of asbestos in California puts the age-adjusted infection rate of mesothelioma at 0.6 per 100,000 people. In the same year, 281 new mesothelioma cases were reported in the state.

Mesothelioma Treatment in California

Like other cancer patients, Mesothelioma victims can qualify for treatments and therapies, often when an early diagnosis is made. Treatment does not necessarily mean complete remission or a cure, as the cancer is deadly and has no certain cure. However, it could extend a person's life or enhance their quality of living for some months or years.

On the whole, there are different treatments used for persons with malignant mesothelioma. Some treatments are still being researched in clinical trials, while others are standard. The latter include immunotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy. Detailed information on the standard mesothelioma treatments can be obtained from the National Cancer Institute's website.

California Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Mass mining and the heavy use of asbestos on an industrial scale before the 20th century marked an increase in the number of lawsuits filed within the California judicial system, as many people (those who mined, refined, and worked with asbestos, as well as their dependents and the general population) developed life-threatening diseases like mesothelioma.

The contributing factor to the steep rise in California asbestos lawsuits was the failure of employers and companies in disclosing the deadly effects of asbestos, as they knew about the health hazards but concealed the truth from employees and the public to make a profit. Today, while the use of asbestos has drastically declined and is strictly controlled in California, the state still sees several mesothelioma filings, given the disease's long latency period.

Victims of mesothelioma in California generally have the right to pursue lawsuits to seek justice against legally liable employers or companies. This includes wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits, the two major types of mesothelioma lawsuits. However, strict time constraints ("statute of limitations") are applicable to each type of lawsuit. Exceeding such limits can cause a plaintiff to lose the right to litigation unless they can file a claim in a state having a longer statute of limitations.

People eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit in California are those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to an employer's or company's negligence. Per Section 340.2 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, the statute of limitations for any personal injury or illness caused or contributed to by asbestos exposure is thus:

  • Within a year from the date the complainant first suffered a disability.
  • Within a year from the date the complainant first knew, or should have known by the exercise of reasonable diligence, that the disability was based on asbestos exposure.

On the other hand, individuals who lost a loved one to mesothelioma can file a wrongful death claim. The time limit to file this claim is as follows:

  • Within a year from the decedent's date of death.
  • Within a year from the date the plaintiff first knew, or should have known by the exercise of reasonable diligence, that the death was based on asbestos exposure.

By filing a wrongful death suit, a decedent's family member or personal representative can recover economic damages like funeral expenses, medical bills, and lost wages. Furthermore, owing to Senate Bill 447 signed on October 1, 2021, by the governor, a plaintiff can now recover noneconomic damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement, a right that was previously only available in personal injury lawsuits.

(Senate Bill 447 bill took effect on January 1, 2022, and amended Section 377.34 of the Code of Civil Procedure. To take advantage of the new law, a plaintiff's case must have been filed on or after January 1, 2022, or been granted a preference under Section 36 before January 1, 2022, and filed before January 1, 2026.)

Mesothelioma lawsuits do not just provide a means for the injured and their families to fight back and receive financial compensation from employers or companies who exposed them to asbestos. They also allow victims to cover the massive costs of mesothelioma treatments and therapies, recover the loss of income, and support their families even if they pass away.

However, a mesothelioma lawsuit is a complex legal procedure. Not only does the procedure depend on the filed claim, but one's success greatly rests on the provision of material evidence and records. This may include documentary evidence of a mesothelioma diagnosis, a history of asbestos exposure, and testimonies from co-workers or other witnesses. Because a mesothelioma diagnosis typically occurs many years after the first asbestos exposure, such evidence may be difficult to compile.

Furthermore, it may be challenging to identify who is responsible for one's injury, and many companies that manufactured or worked with asbestos have long since declared bankruptcy, leaving nothing to compensate victims in the way of lawsuits moving forward. Again, a victim may have no idea that their injury is asbestos-related and fail to bring a claim within the statutory limits.

The above are only some of the complexities tied to mesothelioma cases. For such reasons, citizens affected by the disease are urged to talk to a skilled attorney shortly after a diagnosis or death to know their legal options, including:

  • The best state and court to file a lawsuit. In some cases, mesothelioma lawsuits should be filed in the state where the liable company is located or where the plaintiff lived. However, the state where a victim was exposed may be the better option.
  • The correct entity or entities to sue.
  • The claim befitting one's situation. Two popular claims in mesothelioma lawsuits are negligence and product liability. A negligence claim argues that a company involved in producing, using, or selling asbestos-containing products caused a plaintiff's disability by failing to provide adequate notification about the dangers of a product. Meanwhile, a product liability claim assigns responsibility to a company that manufactured or sold a harmful product.
  • The compensation adequate for a claim.
  • Factors that could extend the statute of limitations, etc.

A local attorney can also properly manage the legal process (including filings and court deadlines) and negotiate a fair settlement for a plaintiff.

Mesothelioma Claims & Settlements in California

A California mesothelioma claim is a legal action initiated by a mesothelioma victim to hold an employer or company accountable for their injury. This claim can be filed in a federal or state court against a non-bankrupt entity alleged to be responsible for a person's injury. It can also be filed outside the court to receive financial compensation. For example, a claim against the asbestos trust funds of a bankrupt company, which was created to compensate victims of asbestos exposure.

On the other hand, a California mesothelioma settlement allows a victim to receive financial compensation for an injury without a lengthy trial. Settlements are common in lawsuits where both sides wish to avoid the costs, time, and effort associated with a full jury trial.

Besides the solvency or insolvency of a company, the choice between filing a bankruptcy trust claim, filing a legal claim in court, or opting for settlement rests on the likelihood of a victim to be speedily and fairly compensated for their immense suffering. Regardless, most mesothelioma cases in California are resolved by settlement, as defendants often propose to pay a negotiated sum to victims without going to court. This payout varies by case, according to the cost of the victim's medical expenses, the degree of the disease, emotional distress, and other factors, but it can reach millions of dollars.

Another reason why settlements are the preferred form of resolution is that the duration until a victim receives compensation depends on how fast both sides can reach an agreement.

Lastly, a settlement guarantees full compensation for the victim. In contrast, a trust may only pay a victim a set amount of money (often considerably less than what may be received from solvent companies in court), and a trial verdict can be overturned or lead to a reduced amount upon an appeal.

California Asbestos Certification

To protect workers and the public from the dangers of asbestos exposure, the State of California requires a certification for all individuals who work with asbestos-containing materials. The certification process ensures that workers have the knowledge and skills necessary to handle asbestos-containing materials safely.

There are many different types of California asbestos certifications. Whatever the type, accredited workers must complete an approved asbestos training program and pass a written examination. For more advanced roles, applicants must also complete an approved asbestos training program and have experience working with asbestos-containing materials.

Certified workers and supervisors are required to renew their certification every four years. The certification process helps ensure that workers who come into contact with asbestos-containing materials are properly trained and equipped to handle these materials safely.

California Asbestos License Lookup

To complete a California asbestos license lookup, interested members of the public may do one of the following:

  1. Go to the website of the California Department of Industrial Relations. On the homepage, under the "Asbestos" heading, click on the link that says "Asbestos Abatement Licensing Unit". This will open to a page with information about asbestos abatement licenses in California. There is a searchable database on this page that you can use to look up an asbestos license. Enter the name of the person or company being looked up, and the results will show if they have a valid license.

    Requestors may also view a list of all licensed asbestos abatement contractors in California. This list is sorted alphabetically by company name.

    For further information about asbestos licenses in California, contact the Asbestos Abatement Licensing Unit directly. The phone number and email address are listed on the webpage.

  2. Requestors can also find information about asbestos licenses by contacting the California Department of Public Health. The Department of Public Health regulates asbestos in public and commercial buildings. They can provide interested persons with a list of licensed asbestos abatement contractors and answer any questions about asbestos licensing in California.

California Asbestos Disclosure

Per California asbestos disclosure laws, property owners whose buildings were constructed before 1979 are legally mandated to disclose the presence of asbestos-containing construction materials to employees working within their buildings. This includes public and commercial buildings, such as the buildings managed by the Department of General Services (DGS).

Owners must include the following in their notices:

  • A list or description of the contents of any survey performed to locate asbestos materials within the building, plus information on where and when the survey results are available.
  • Specific locations pinpointed by the survey or known to the owner as being where asbestos materials are present.
  • General procedures and handling restrictions to prevent or minimize disturbance, release, and exposure to asbestos. If detailed handling restrictions are required for employee safety, the notice must indicate where the instructions can be found.
  • A summary of any bulk sampling analysis or air monitoring performed by or for the owner and information detailing where the specific data is available.
  • Possible health risks or impacts that may arise from exposure to asbestos in the building.

Per the law, an owner must give notification within 15 days of discovering the presence or location of asbestos materials in the building. Subsequently, the notice should be furnished annually to each employee or other persons designated to receive notice. The 15-day timeline also applies to new employees (within 15 days of the start of work) and new owners (within 15 days of the effective date under which a person becomes the new owner).

California's asbestos disclosure laws are codified at Sections 25915 through 25919.7 of the Health and Safety Code (HSC). Any building owner who knowingly fails to comply with such laws opens themselves to civil liability and a misdemeanor charge, which can lead to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and a jail term not more than a year.

California Asbestos Regulating Agencies

In California, there are several agencies governing the regulation of the use of asbestos within state limits. California asbestos regulating agencies include the Cal/OSHA, the CARB, the EPA, and the CDPH.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) is the primary agency responsible for regulating asbestos in the workplace. All employers in California are required to comply with Cal/OSHA regulations regarding asbestos exposure.

Cal/OSHA's Asbestos Unit is responsible for investigating complaints and inspecting workplaces for asbestos hazards. If an asbestos hazard is found, the unit can issue citations and fines. The team also provides workers and employers information and training on asbestos safety.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is responsible for regulating asbestos in products used or sold in California. CARB has strict regulations regarding asbestos in products, and it regularly monitors products for compliance.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating asbestos in the environment. The EPA has set standards for asbestos exposure in air, water, and soil. The EPA also regulates the disposal of asbestos-containing waste.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is responsible for protecting the public from asbestos exposure. The CDPH provides information on asbestos exposure and health effects. The CDPH also regulates the use of asbestos in public buildings and schools.

Local agencies may also have regulations regarding asbestos. Interested persons may contact their local air pollution control district or city/county health department for more information.

California Asbestos Lawsuit Statute of Limitations

The California asbestos statute of limitations is two years from the date of diagnosis. Thus, victims or loved ones of persons diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness have two years from the date of diagnosis to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties.

There are some exceptions to this rule, however. Persons who can prove that the defendants knew or should have known about the dangers of asbestos exposure and failed to warn them may be able to extend the statute of limitations. Additionally, for those filing a wrongful death suit on behalf of a loved one who died from an asbestos-related illness, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of death.

How to Choose a Mesothelioma Lawyer in California

Victims of mesothelioma and their family members are usually advised to employ the services of a mesothelioma lawyer if seeking to file a claim or asbestos lawsuit. While there are more than a few California mesothelioma lawyers, it is essential to choose one that is experienced and knowledgeable about the specific laws in California.

When choosing a mesothelioma lawyer, claimants must consider their experience, success rate, and location. They will also want to ensure that the lawyer is equipped to handle their case specifically.

Interested persons may contact the American Bar Association when looking for a mesothelioma lawyer in California. The ABA may provide them with a list of qualified lawyers in their area. Requestors can also check with the California State Bar Association or the National Lawyer's Guild. Requestors may also search online for mesothelioma lawyers in California. Many websites list lawyers by location and specialize in this area of law.