A multi-year backlog of lawsuits against asbestos product companies is being winnowed down as many cases are being dropped or dismissed, leaving victims of mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other serious diseases with little recourse and high levels of frustration. The unfortunate outcome follows refusal on the part of legislators and the judiciary to agree to consolidating several thousand cases together for settlement.
Asbestos Firms Argued Against Consolidating Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Though a Baltimore law firm advocated for consolidating mesothelioma lawsuits in order to hasten compensation for victims of asbestos poisoning, representatives of asbestos companies worked against the strategy, arguing that it would lead to unfair decisions against them and in favor of plaintiffs. With the opportunity to combine claims together gone, thousands of cases are now being dropped and it is anticipated that the Maryland backlog of asbestos cases will be cleared “in the next two to three years.”
While asbestos companies and representatives of asbestos trusts say that the dismissals indicate that the mesothelioma lawsuits filed against them were not viable in the first place, attorneys for the claimants say that they are being dropped due to frustration. Says one plaintiff whose father died after years of working at Bethlehem Steel, “These people knew it was toxic to the workers.”
Delay in Hearing Mesothelioma Cases Blamed on Bankruptcy Proceedings
In addition to the legal wrangling over whether mesothelioma lawsuits could be consolidated, the case backlog was large due to lengthy bankruptcy proceedings involving several of the asbestos companies named as defendants. The attorneys for several clients are continuing to engage in what they are calling “global settlement discussions” that they are requesting the court to facilitate. The attorneys say, “We believe the Court can and should play an integral role in assisting with ongoing settlement discussions in order to advance the likelihood of resolution of these cases.” Other cases are being referred to bankruptcy court, where plaintiffs are likely to see their cases resolved at a reduced level of compensation.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help you find a way to speedy resolution of your case. For more information, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.