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Maryland’s Highest Court Reconsidering Rules that Work Against Mesothelioma Victims

The Maryland Court of Appeals is reconsidering a state law that only provides mesothelioma victims and their families with 20 years to file a claim against their employers, and the asbestos industry is fighting hard against that possibility.

Though most people know that malignant mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, few realize exactly how much time generally goes by between exposure and diagnosis. The condition has an extremely long latency period, which means that fifty or more years can go by between the time that an individual breathes in asbestos fibers and the time that the cancerous tumors that have been forming ever since become evident. Because Maryland’s laws impose a 20-year statute of limitations on filing a claim, people who have been exposed to asbestos have long been at a significant disadvantage and robbed of their ability to seek justice. But now the family of a steamfitter who worked in a Maryland power plant in the 1970s and who was diagnosed with mesothelioma forty years later has made its way to the state’s highest court, and the family has the backing of local unions and trade associations.

James F. Piper died of malignant mesothelioma in 2014, less than a year after he was diagnosed with a condition caused by exposure that took place in 1970. The 20-year deadline effectively prevented his family from being able to file a claim for the same advantages that others diagnosed with different diseases are able to, and it’s that lack of fairness that is behind the family’s lawsuit.  Though the family’s position was already rejected by the Baltimore City Court and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, there is hope that the Court of Appeals will take action and restore parity to the legal process. CBS Corporation now owns the company that Piper had worked for, and their attorney has argued that it is not the court’s job to change the law. The company’s position is being supported buy a business coalition that is fighting to maintain their ability to avoid more lawsuits being filed, and having to pay millions to injured workers.

If you or someone you love needs information on the resources available to malignant mesothelioma victims, contact Mesothelioma.net’s Patient Advocates at  1-800-692-8608.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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