This week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 645 into law, and it marks a significant victory for victims of malignant mesothelioma. The new law will protect victims of the asbestos-related disease from physically and emotionally taxing deposition examinations by limiting the amount of time that defendant companies are permitted to take to question them.
Law Passed to Protect Mesothelioma Victims
Senate Bill 645 was initially introduced by California Democratic state senator William Monning with the intention of providing a remedy for mesothelioma victims whose already fragile physical health has been further endangered by extensive depositions in cases where they are seeking compensation. The protections will extend both to those diagnosed with mesothelioma and those suffering from silicosis, and the passage of the bill comes after emotional testimony provided to the legislature by family members and asbestos victims alike.
Asbestos companies and their attorneys have fought hard against passage of the bill, claiming that it will limit their ability to defend themselves against charges of negligence in mesothelioma lawsuits.
Time of Deposition Now Limited to 7 hours
Under the recently passed law, mesothelioma victims who have filed lawsuits against asbestos companies charging them with responsibility for their illness will be able to limit their deposition time to no more than 7 hours, though this time period can be extended an additional three hours if there are more than ten defendants who are present at the deposition and an additional 7 hours if there are more than 20 defendants present at the deposition.
In order to take advantage of the new law, all that a mesothelioma victim will need to do will be to provide a declaration from a licensed physician attesting to their diagnosis and to their medical opinion that the plaintiff is not likely to live more than another six months. When the required number of defendants are present and wish to have the hours extended as allowed by the law, they will have to justify their request for the time extension, and even then it will only be allowed if the plaintiff’s health is not endangered by it being granted.
The passage of this law represents a real mercy for those who are dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis. If you need information on the resources available to you or a loved one who has been affected by this challenging disease, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.