Over 30 Billion dollars in trust fund money has been set aside for asbestos victims.
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Class-action lawsuits are a way for a group of people to file a claim against a company or corporation whose actions have injured them. These suits can be filed either in federal or state court, depending upon whether the claim falls under federal or state law.
Suits pertaining to mesothelioma and asbestos exposure began being filed in the late 1960s, when public health experts were first talking about the dangers of asbestos use and its association with malignant mesothelioma. Defendants in asbestos-related class-action suits were mining companies, manufacturers, distributors, and installers of asbestos-containing products. Company records showed that the risks of asbestos exposure were known, but either no one informed the employees of the danger or took any action to protect them.
Although some class-action lawsuits have been effective, federal courts have sometimes looked unfavorably on them.
For example, by the 1980s, the dangers of asbestos exposure were well known, and the number of victims suffering from asbestos-related diseases was high. Consequently, more than 750,000 claims were pending in state and federal courts. This created great logistical difficulties, as each case had to proceed within a tremendously backlogged judicial system.
In 1991, in an effort to resolve this problem, federal judges consolidated pending asbestos litigation into a single suit before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Multi-district asbestos litigation, known as MDL 875, is still handled in this manner to this day.
The judge presiding over that litigation did not create the global settlement between plaintiffs and asbestos company defendants that was expected. As a result, a group of manufacturers of asbestos-containing products formed the Center for Claims Resolution (CCR), charged with negotiating a settlement with plaintiffs. Since an actual trial would be both expensive and time-consuming, plaintiffs and defendants filed a joint motion to be certified as a class. It also asked for compensation. The motion was debated all the up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to allow it. The court argued that the asbestos claimants represented too many diverse interests to represent a class under federal law.
As you can see, class-action lawsuits often have too many variables for judges to consider. That's why it's often best to file a private lawsuit with the help of a mesothelioma lawyer.
As a result of forgoing individual claims for mesothelioma, the common way to seek redress is from the manufacturers of asbestos. In an individual state claim, a person can find compensation through either litigation or through trust funds.
If you have a question about your ability to file a mesothelioma claim, please fill out a form. You will get a free case evaluation so you can find out more about your options. Further, MesoLink.org has assembled a free packet on asbestos trust fund information that you will find very helpful.
The Mesothelioma Lawsuit Center can send you a Free Mesothelioma Packet with additional informattion on topics such as: