No individual should have to face asbestos exposure because a company acted negligently. Asbestos exposure can be very harmful to an individual. Such exposure can result in individuals developing mesothelioma or other serious medical conditions. Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related medical conditions can be very impactful on their victims.
Last month, a state court of appeals affirmed a lower court's decision to dismiss a plaintiff's asbestos lawsuit after finding that he had failed to disclose evidence and attempted to tamper with witnesses during the discovery process. The case was dismissed with prejudice, which means that the plaintiff will not be able to re-file the lawsuit in that county in the future.
Victims suffering from mesothelioma across the nation, including many here in Madison County, know how important it is to seek legal representation when filing a personal injury case. But often times, people are talked into obtaining a lawyer who may not have all the necessary knowledge that it takes to deal with such an intricate case, resulting in victims being financially shortchanged.
Although pleural mesothelioma and other forms of the deadly disease have grown increasingly common in Madison County and throughout the country, they are still largely misunderstood and, unfortunately, misdiagnosed. This is largely due to the symptoms of the disease and their similarity to symptoms of similar but much less harmful ailments.
Last month, a married couple filed an asbestos lawsuit against more than 85 companies. In the suit, the plaintiffs alleged that the companies were responsible for the 80-year-old husband's exposure to asbestos during his 30-year steel employment as an electrician and laborer, and that they were therefore also responsible for his mesothelioma diagnosis.
Although researchers and medical professionals have known of mesothelioma and asbestos-related illnesses for many decades now, there is still a great deal that is not known about the disease. For example, diagnosing mesothelioma remains a complicated and difficult task that is made more challenging by the long length of time that generally passes between asbestos exposure and a mesothelioma diagnosis.
It is an unfortunate reality that asbestos lawsuits now generally have a bad reputation. The plaintiffs that are genuinely suffering from mesothelioma and similar debilitating diseases are painted as selfish and opportunistic, simply because they choose to fight the people and companies whose greed and negligence caused them to contract those diseases.
Earlier this year, a state supreme court struck down the damages award in an asbestos lawsuit, finding that the widow of a deceased Navy seaman should not be compensated for her husband's pain and suffering and for her own loss of society. Now, the same court has reinstated the portion of the damages awarded for pain and suffering, finding that the federal Jones Act permits such an award.
In a recent landmark ruling, a Missouri judge ruled that a company named as a defendant in an asbestos case may not reserve the right to autopsy the plaintiff in the event that he succumbs to the mesothelioma that is at the center of his case. The judge gave several reasons for denying the defendant company's autopsy motion, the most significant being that the plaintiff is not deceased, and that he will likely still be alive when his mesothelioma trial starts in the next few months.
In 2011, an Illinois jury awarded nearly $90 million in damages to the widow of a man who had passed away from mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at work. Now, following a federal court ruling which limited the situations in which a company could be held liable for a worker's death, an Illinois judge has reduced that jury award down to $8 million.