When you think of all of the activities that have been halted or delayed by the global pandemic, it is unlikely that mesothelioma lawsuits are the first to jump into your mind. But like every other aspect of life, the scheduling of litigation was initially shut down and has now begun to reopen, and that includes personal injury lawsuits. Though many plaintiffs had thought that they would be able to reschedule their cases to some point in the future, a West Virginia judge has notified all parties that there will be no summary judgments or continuances rushed through: he urged parties to asbestos litigation to settle, because otherwise they will find themselves in a social distanced trial, and at risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
West Virginia Judge Warns Against Pursuing Mesothelioma Trial Amidst COVID-19
July 27th is the date that West Virginia judge Ronald E. Wilson has set for when mesothelioma victims and the asbestos companies that they accuse of negligence should be ready to present settlement agreements for review. The judge has issued a stark warning that failure to arrive at agreements will leave all parties vulnerable to the “dreadful experience” of conducting a live trial during a global pandemic.
The social distancing requirements that are in place during COVID-19 are designed to minimize the spread of the virus, but it is questionable as to whether they will provide the protections needed by medically fragile mesothelioma patients.
Judge Will Not Push Back Mesothelioma Trials
Despite the evident risks to mesothelioma litigants, Judge Wilson has warned that he will not allow trials that are already significantly backlogged to be further delayed. Instead, he is urging litigants to be reasonable and end their cases by finding amicable resolutions. Otherwise, he says, the trials will be held inside of a conference center rather than a courthouse to accommodate the three dozen cases that are scheduled to be heard.
The measures that the court has planned in the event that the mesothelioma trials take place include “everyone wearing masks and jurors, attorneys, clients, witnesses, and the judge all separated by 6 feet with the judge, the attorneys and the witness trying to communicate.”
The challenges of malignant mesothelioma have been exacerbated by the global pandemic in many ways. If you need information on the resources available to support you through your journey, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.