When Charles Brannan was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in 2015, he and his wife Louise immediately filed a personal injury lawsuit against Union Carbide Corporation and several other asbestos companies, accusing them of failing to protect or warn him of the dangers posed by their products. He died less than a month after that claim was filed, and since his death the asbestos company has repeatedly attempted to dismiss Louise’s claim based on legal technicalities. The Court of Appeals of Georgia recently issued a second denial of the company’s motion to dismiss, allowing the widow to continue to seek justice.
Sudden Sickness and Death Lead to Delays in Mesothelioma Filings
Though Charles and Louise filed a mesothelioma lawsuit shortly after he was diagnosed with the rare and deadly form of cancer, his death on October 5th came just three weeks after their filing. Union Carbide’s attorneys filed a “Notice of Suggestion of Death of Plaintiff” ten days after his death, but no estate representative had been appointed and therefore nobody from the estate was served the notice, though Louise was served as co-plaintiff. She later was appointed executrix of the estate and a year later she filed an amended complaint removing Charles as plaintiff and adding herself as a representative of the estate. She reasserted her claim for loss of consortium and added a wrongful death claim. But Union Carbide objected because she had not substituted herself as plaintiff with 180 days of the notice of suggestion of death. Louise responded by filing a voluntary dismissal of the complaint.
A few months later, Louise filed a second complaint against the same both as a representative of the estate for personal injury claims as well as for herself as mesothelioma widow for loss of consortium. Union Carbide objected because of the prior pending action. Their motion for summary judgment was denied, and they filed another claim based on the fact that she had no right to dismiss her late husband’s claims because she had never been properly substituted on the original claim as plaintiff. This motion was also denied, as the court ruled that the two actions were separate and that her failure to formally substitute herself in the first action did negate her ability to dismiss the earlier claims. Union Carbide filed an appeal of this decision, arguing that the trial court had erred.
Appeals Court Details Mesothelioma Widow’s Rights
In in ruling, the appeals court called Union Carbide’s argument against the mesothelioma widow “misplaced.” They wrote that her “refiling of the complaint within the applicable statute of limitation, both in her individual capacity and as the duly-appointed representative of Charles’s estate, was proper under the circumstances.” She will be able to proceed with her wrongful death and loss of consortium claims.
When fighting asbestos companies for justice, it is essential that you have informed and aggressive advocates on your side. For information on how the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can assist you, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.