With the signature of Governor Gavin Newsom, California recently passed a law aimed at protecting mesothelioma cancer victims during the fact-gathering stage of an asbestos cancer lawsuit. The bill, SB 645, would limit the number of hours defendants would be able to question plaintiffs under oath in cases where plaintiffs can demonstrate to the courts that they have less than six months to live.
SB 645 places a seven-hour limitation on defendants’ deposition examination (where attorneys question witnesses under oath) in cases in which a licensed physician provides the court with a written declaration stating that the plaintiff has mesothelioma and there is substantial doubt whether he or she will live longer than six months. In cases in which there are more than 10 defendants named in the lawsuit, defendants may request an additional three hours of deposition testimony, and an additional seven hours of testimony if more than 20 defendants are involved in the lawsuit.
The law allows the courts to grant those time extensions in cases in which such an extension is in the interest of fairness, and the health of the plaintiff would not be endangered by the additional testimony time. The law’s passage with the governor’s signature is welcome news for mesothelioma cancer victims who are often subjected to hours and hours of intense questioning by defense attorneys, all while the plaintiff’s health is in decline while batting the serious form of cancer.
Asbestos was once used in a variety of industrial, military, and even cosmetic applications but has been heavily regulated since the 1970s when federal lawmakers finally enacted legislation addressing the public dangers posed by the substance. However, even before asbestos was effectively banned, companies making products with the substance already knew for decades about the harm is could cause if inhaled or ingested but continued to produce their deadly products without any warning to those coming in contact with them.
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. The disease commonly affects the tissues surrounding the lungs but can also manifest itself in the tissues surrounding the heart and abdominal cavity. Mesothelioma has a long latency period of anywhere from 20 to 50 years, which often leaves patients with diminished treatment options by the time symptoms present themselves and physicians are able to make a diagnosis.
By the time a diagnosis is made, patients are often left with only a few months to live. Fortunately, the law generally gives family members the right to continue mesothelioma lawsuits on behalf of deceased loved ones and hold asbestos companies responsible for placing profits ahead of public safety.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.