“Anything that would slow a case down essentially would be a death sentence,” said Rick Nemeroff. “We were able to get this done really efficiently, which is the exact opposite of what the bill that is being proposed would do. It would be years and years before we would be able to get a case like Mr. Petersen’s filed and set for a jury trial and it’s almost an absolute certainty he would be dead before he got his day in court.”
Portions of Wilson’s bill are lifted from two pieces of model legislation promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a business-backed group of conservative lawmakers.
Similar legislation has been proposed in California, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, New York and Tennessee, according to the Environmental Working Group, which has tracked asbestos legislation.
But Nemeroff says Wilson’s bill goes further than any of those other bills has gone.
“This specific bill that is being proposed in Utah is the most egregious that I’ve seen and it’s never been passed [in other states] in its current form,” Nemeroff said.
Wilson said he is willing to work on revisions to his bill if they’re needed. It is scheduled for a hearing before the House Business and Labor Committee Wednesday morning. Peterson said he plans to be there.
“I plan to fight as best I can for my fellow men who may come down with this disease. It’s a terrible disease. It works on you every day. There’s a lot of heartache with it. I can’t tell you how it works on you and your family,” Petersen said.
The world has known of asbestos and its uses for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the last century and a half that man harnessed its power on a massive scale, and ultimately paid the price. After first being mined and commercially produced in the late 19 th century, asbestos became increasingly popular during World War II. Since the 1940s, millions of Americans have been exposed to and have died from asbestos.
Here is a brief overview of asbestos litigation:
Records show that the first legal case filed against an asbestos manufacturer was in 1929. That case was ultimately settled.
A pivotal article published in 1960 by Wagner et al. helped open the door to plaintiff lawsuits by establishing mesothelioma as a disease caused by asbestos exposure.
Asbestos litigation took off in the 1970s, around the same time asbestos became one of the first hazardous air pollutants to be regulated under the Clean Air Act of 1970.
Following numerous claims filed by victims and families, more than half of the 25 largest asbestos manufacturers in the U.S. had declared bankruptcy by the early 1990s.
Asbestos litigation is considered the longest and most expensive mass tort in American history. Given the latency period of mesothelioma – 20-50 years after asbestos exposure – experts project increases in diagnoses through the next decade. This could extend the total costs of asbestos litigation to as much as $275 billion in the United States alone.
The legal history of asbestos and mesothelioma has always been centered on the millions of victims and families affected by this dangerous substance. Today, victims and their loved ones still have every right to pursue compensation through legal means.
If you have questions about mesothelioma, asbestos litigation, and whether you have a case, contact Nemeroff Law Firm for a FREE case review.