An intermediate appeals court in New York recently denied a motion brought forth by a group of asbestos product related companies attempting to challenge the types of damages cancer victims can recover and the state’s special asbestos court system as a whole. The appeal comes a year after the courts modified their case management orders to allow plaintiffs to recover punitive damages in mesothelioma cancer lawsuits and less than one month after a state jury handed down a record breaking $60 million plaintiff’s verdict.
The special asbestos court, known as the New York Court of Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL), is one of the country’s largest backlog of asbestos cancer cases and has created its own unique rules to help move along cases on the docket. One of those case management orders was an agreement with defendants to defer punitive damages in exchange for waivers of due process rights to allow cases to move more quickly through the courts.
Punitive damages are a special type of award meant to punish defendants for especially egregious conduct and serve as a type of warning to prevent other entities from engaging in similarly reckless behavior. The agreement between the asbestos companies and the courts had remained in place for almost two decades until 2014 when punitive damages were reintroduced by a Manhattan Supreme Court justice.
Some of the largest corporations in the country took part in the appeal to remove punitives damages from the case management order. Businesses involved included the Ford Motor Company and R.J. Reynolds. The defendants are expected to appeal the ruling to the state’s highest court once the time period for such legal action begins, arguing that the new case management order violates, among other things, their constitutional right to fair trials.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral once used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications due to its heat-resistant properties and ability to be molded into almost any shape. However, the mineral is also directly linked to mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that commonly affects thin linings of tissues surrounding vital organs like the heart, lungs, and abdominal cavity.
Even though asbestos companies knew for decades about the health and safety risks associated with asbestos exposure, these powerful entities did nothing to warn innocent people about the dangers of developing mesothelioma and other serious health complications. As a result, tens of thousands of people developed mesothelioma and have taken the asbestos companies to court in order to recover vital compensation for their lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and the loss of their health.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced naitonwide 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.
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