A Baltimore Judge Considers Plan to Marshall Old Asbestos Cases Through the Legal System

by Monty Yolles on December 18, 2012

Judge Considers Plan to Hear Asbestos Cases

The barrage of asbestos cases in the early 1990’s led the Maryland court system to perform a sort of triage.  The plaintiffs were essentially divided into two categories:  sick and not sick.  Cases where the plaintiffs claimed to have been exposed to asbestos but were not yet exhibiting symptoms were placed on an inactive administrative docket.

Since then, many plaintiffs who where were not exhibiting symptoms have become sick, but their cases are stuck in the gridlock of Maryland’s congested court system.  The 13,000 or so remaining asbestos cases trickle through the system at a rate of one or two trials per year and a few dismissals or settlements.

Recently, the plaintiffs in the dormant cases proposed a plan in which the Baltimore Circuit Court would consider a large number of cases at one time, using test cases to establish links between asbestos and health problems.  Consolidating similar cases for determining causation would allow a single jury to hear evidence as to whether or not asbestos causes cancer or other illnesses.  Each plaintiff’s exposure claim could then be heard individually without repeating the causation evidence.

The defendants have made the usual objections, backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Many people don’t realize the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not a government agency, but is a group made up by and for businesses to promote a strictly pro-business agenda, big business in particular.

Union Carbide’s lawyer, for example, says the plaintiffs are trying to bully the defendants into settling.  That statement itself is laughable – like saying David was trying to bully Goliath.

In another attempt to disparage the plan, Harold Kim, the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform said, “There’s a very high likelihood that a lot of these people aren’t sick and their claims are supported by discredited doctors.”  Yet, he can’t possibly know what evidence will be presented, or by whom.  His statements amount to bare allegations by a person hoping to sway public opinion.

If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos and have not yet filed a lawsuit, it may not be too late.  Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer without delay to discuss your rights and determine your next steps.

The Yolles Legal Group is dedicated to helping restore lives after a wrongful injury.  Monty Yolles, founder of The Yolles Legal Group, is an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney who can review your case and help you navigate the legal system on your road to recovery.  Call Monty Yolles today at (301)670-0443 to discuss your case, or send an email inquiry to monty@yolleslaw.com.

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