After the initial shock of receiving a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma has passed, victims of the asbestos-related disease need to sit down and make several important decisions. Beyond the medical decisions and talks with your family, you also need to decide whether to pursue legal action against the company or companies responsible for your exposure to asbestos. As you weigh your options, keep in mind that many victims who are intimidated by the thought of a jury trial choose to consolidate their cases with other victims with similar exposures. Though asbestos companies often object to doing so, consolidation can minimize the amount of time spent gathering evidence, while also cutting down on the court’s caseload and on stress for the victims.
To get an idea of how this type of consolidation works, consider a couple of recent mesothelioma cases heard in the Supreme Court of New York County. Despite arguments against doing so, the judge overseeing the cases agreed to group eight individual men’s cases into four similar pairs.
- The case of Thomas Knudsen, who died of pleural mesothelioma in May of 2017, was paired with the case of Peter McNally, who died of pleural mesothelioma in October of 2016. Both men had worked as residential apprentice electricians, as well as working on asbestos-contaminated equipment during their time in the U.S. Navy.
- The case of Richard Agosto, who died of lung cancer after more than 40 years of exposure to asbestos while working as a maintainer’s helper and maintainer, was combined with the case of Joseph Prestia, who died of lung cancer after exposure to asbestos while working as a construction worker and contractor.
- The case of Robert Gorley, who died of lung cancer after having been exposed to asbestos as an auto mechanic, in the Navy and while working construction, was combined with the case of Fred Haddad, who died from lung cancer after having served in the Navy and having worked as a laborer.
- The case of Anthony Baldino, who died from pleural mesothelioma after having been exposed to asbestos as a machinist helper in the U.S. Navy and later as an auto mechanic, was combined with the case of Anthony Celardo, who died from pleural mesothelioma after working as a ship fitter in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and as an auto mechanic.
Though the asbestos companies argued that each case was different and should be heard separately, the judge in the case decided that the cases should be consolidated, saying, “These actions thus consolidated have the same legal issues and similarity of facts, requiring consideration of the same or similar factual evidence. These commonalities favor consolidation which is in the interests of justice and judicial economy.” They also make things easier on the victims.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease and you are interested in the best way to approach the legal issues, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244 for guidance.