Yvonne Stanley, a former secretary at the Miami-Dade Courthouse, says asbestos in the aging building caused her lung cancer. Stanley says daily exposure to the alleged asbestos and mold led to her developing Stage II lung cancer.
Stanley underwent a lung extraction in 2017 as a result of her illness. According to the complaint, she is currently undergoing chemotherapy. She claims to have never had respiratory issues before her exposure to mold and asbestos at her job. She also states that she has never been a smoker.
The former secretary began working at the courthouse in 1994, but in 2005, she was moved to another building in Doral.
The lawsuit states that Stanley was exposed to poor air quality throughout her career, including her time at the building in Doral.
The courthouse, which was completed in 1928, is falling into disrepair. County commissioners have stated that the building is experiencing rust, algae, corrosion, mold penetration, poor air quality, termites and potential asbestos exposure.
But voters have made it clear that they do not want to pay to rebuild the structure.
Employees have been complaining for years about the conditions at the courthouse. Chief Judge Bertila Soto said at a public safety committee meeting in 2014 that 576 employees were exposed to mold, termites, leaks and asbestos on a daily basis. At one point, the air quality on the 19th and 20th floors was so bad that the area had to be evacuated.
A report from the county inspector general in 2016 showed that officials had not inspected the building since 1988.
Asbestos was discovered in the building in 2013, and the courthouse began remediation. It is still unclear whether the abatement was complete.
A new civil courthouse would cost at least $400 million, the county estimates.
On top of all of this, a separate report shows that the water on the 17th floor of the building has higher-than-safe levels of lead.