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Mesothelioma Litigation - Past and Present

Mesothelioma Litigation - Past and Present

Mesothelioma litigation has been around for four decades, with the number of cases increasing every year. However, despite the widespread knowledge that asbestos products could be extremely hazardous to health, the use of asbestos continued right through until the late 1980's. So, when was the first asbestos lawsuit filed and what is the current state of these litigations?

It was a Texas-based lawyer named Ward Stephenson who is credited with the first successful mesothelioma litigation case. This lawsuit was filed in Beaumont, Texas in December of 1966, with Claude Tomplait, a former asbestos worker from Louisiana, as plaintiff. In this litigation, there were eleven mentioned defendants, including Owens-Corning and John-Manville.

The plaintiff was diagnosed with what the doctor called "pulmonary dust disease" wherein the illness showed all the symptoms of being asbestos-related. Tomplait's allegation and case stated the eleven defendants had either the knowledge or an obligation to be aware of the potential health hazards of asbestos. The "failure to warn" element was the main basis of their liability, and is still the primary element in mesothelioma litigation today. This first case clearly indicated the legal vulnerability of the asbestos industry.

A study on the harmful effects of asbestos was commissioned in the 1940's in a paper now known as the Sumner Simpson Papers. However, it was later shown that this study was deliberately covered up by the asbestos industry in a conspiracy to suppress the information related to the many health dangers of asbestos. This has resulted in the explosion of mesothelioma litigation which still continues to this day.

At present, with many influential people in high power favoring large corporations, mesothelioma litigations have become more complicated. Many of those who hold positions in Congress and the Supreme Court are seen to have remarkable bias in favor of these big corporations over that of the rights of the people. Although this does not pave a smoother way for the future of mesothelioma litigation, those suffering from this deadly disease should not lose hope.

The FAIR Act submitted by Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter which should have ended all the rights of people to sue large corporations over asbestos exposure, was vetoed in 2006. In addition to this, there is a solid 20-year foundation of cases and precedents which mesothelioma lawyers can draw on to successfully argue the cases of victims.

There is no lawyer that can guarantee you a sure-shot multi-million dollar settlement as compensation for what you are going through, but you should bear in mind that the evidence and history are well on your side. As long as you choose the right lawyer to defend you, and you do your part in the mesothelioma litigation for a strong case, there is no reason for you not to receive the justice you deserve.

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