Mesothelioma Victim’s Quest for Justice Defeated By Delay

A North Carolina court room was the end of the legal road for a mesothelioma victim who waited too long to pursue justice against those responsible for her illness, and her case serves as a cautionary tale for others diagnosed with this rare and fatal form of cancer. Jody Ratcliff was first diagnosed with mesothelioma in May of 2005, but did not file claims against the companies she believes exposed her to asbestos until March of 2017. Had she filed within three years of her diagnosis she’d have likely won her case and would have been awarded compensation by a jury. Instead her entire case was dismissed.

The importance of the statute of limitations 

Mesothelioma victims and other victims of negligence have the right to file a claim against those responsible for the injuries they’ve suffered at their hands, but there are certain rules that they must follow in the process. One of the most important is the statute of limitations, which places a limit on how much time can go by between the time that the victim became aware of their diagnosis and the time that they can file a claim.

Every state has its own rules regarding the statute of limitations, and North Carolina’s rules are similar to those of other states: they only allow victims to wait three years before filing a lawsuit. 

Woman’s case dismissed because too much time passed

When Jody Ratcliff was first diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2005, she took no action other than the pursuit of second opinions and medical care. Over time her disease progressed into different parts of her body and different stages. She filed her claim and argued that the statute of limitations did not apply to her because her condition had progressed into a different type of mesothelioma.  The judge denied her argument and her case was dismissed. She will not have the opportunity to pursue the companies who caused her illness because she waited so long.

As a mesothelioma victim, understanding your rights is as important as understanding the disease itself. For access to resources impacting your quality of life, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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