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Trouble in The Air

Senate Bill Grants Immunity To Asbestos Companies and Cuts Assistance To Terminally-Ill Asbestos Victims

April 25, 2005

Trouble in The Air: Table 1

SENATE BILL WOULD VOID LAWS IN 12 STATES GUARANTEEING SPEEDY TRIALS FOR MESOTHELIOMA VICTIMS

 

State Right to a speedy trial
Mesothelioma Victims - 2002
California YES — Upon clear and convincing evidence that plaintiff will Not survive beyond 6 months; or, over 70 with significant health problems; trial date within 120 days. [Cal. Code Civ. P. 36]
244
Colorado YES — Upon clear/convincing medical evidence plaintiff will Not survive beyond one year; trial date within 120 days. [C.R.S. A. 13-1-129]
29
Connecticut YES — Living malignancies accelerated upon motion. [Oct. 9, 1997 Amendment to Pretrial Order, In Re: Bridgeport Asbestos, Sup. Crt., Judicial Dist. of Fairfield at Bridgeport]
36
Florida (Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties asbestos dockets) YES — Asbestos Litigation Omnibus Order provides for trial dates generally w/in 9 months but there is also a provision for expedited trials.
165
Georgia (Fulton Cty. asbestos docket) YES — Living mesothelioma cases can be put on exigent docket. [Third Amendment to Standing Order No. 1, In Re: All Asbestos-Related Personal Injury or Death Cases Filed by Baron & Budd, P.C., in Fulton County Georgia, No. 1998CV02684, Sep. 20, 2002]
34
Illinois YES — By statute, 735 ILCS 5/2-1007.1, expedited trials permitted for good cause; Madison County and Chicago asbestos dockets both provide expedited settings for mesothelioma cases.
126
Indiana YES — In Marion Cty. (Indianapolis) all asbestos cases docketed in Superior Crt. #2, where Standing Orders have put mesothelioma and lung cancer cases into 8 month track.
53
Louisiana YES — Preference given for plfs over age 70 or suffering from disease Not likely to survive beyond 6 months. [La. Code Civ. P. art. 1573]
38
New York YES — Statewide procedural statute provides trial preference for terminally ill plaintiffs w/in certain ÒwindowÓ periods. [NY Civ. Prac. Law & Rule 3407]
159
Oregon
(Multnomah County)
YES — Living mesothelioma cases accorded priority trial settings ranging from 9 to 14 months.
30
Washington (State) YES — State statute permits elderly and terminally ill (not expected to survive one year) preferential trial setting (usually w/in 6 months) [RCW 4.44.025].
84
West Virginia YES — Exigent docket prioritizes living mesothelioma/lung cancer cases, followed by dec'd mesothelioma/lung cancer cases, placing in groups of 20 every four months. [In Re: Asbestos Personal Injury Litigation, No. 03-C-9600, Final Case Management Order, March 25, 2003]
26

 



SENATE BILL WOULD OVERRIDE CUSTOMARY PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT FOR MESOTHELIOMIA VICTIMS

 

Jurisdiction Permits Expedited/Preferential Setting? Mesothelioma Deaths in 2002
Iowa YES — Asbestos caseload Not significant but exigent cases generally able to get preferential setting.
37
Maryland YES — Not by statute or rule but by practice, all mesothelioma cases are put on separate track and set for trial w/in 9-18 months. [95% of asbestos cases filed in Baltimore.]
49
Massachusetts YES — Mesothelioma and other terminal cancers can be advanced for trial ahead of other cases. [Asbestos Pretrial Orders]
77
Minnesota YES — Courts routinely grant motions to expedite living mesothelioma and other cancer cases but not pursuant to any particular statute or rule.
49
Missouri YES — But no specific rule exists in state law or by local standing orders in either Jackson Cty (Kansas City) or St. Louis.
56
New Jersey YES — By practice, not by rule, terminally ill plaintiffs given expedited trial dates. [Majority of litigation in Middlesex Cty.]
133
Ohio YES — No formal rule but preferential settings for mesothelioma cases occurs.
121
Pennsylvania YES — Not by rule but by judicial discretion.
156