Published on May 24, 2022
The statute of limitations in mesothelioma lawsuits and other similar personal injury cases is three years from when the victim knows or should have known of their illness. Though this may seem clear cut, asbestos companies often try to use this limitation to their advantage to have cases dismissed. A recent attempt to have a Merchant Marine’s Jones Act case turned away failed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Merchant Marine Suffered Multiple Asbestos-Related Diseases
Like many people afflicted with malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers, the disease that killed Carlo Badamo was not his first brush with asbestos-related illness. In 2008 he’d been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and filed a lawsuit, and he did so again in late July of 2020.
After Badamo died of asbestos-related lung cancer in November of 2020, his son Sebastian substituted himself as plaintiff, only to find that several defendants had filed a motion to have the case dismissed due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. The companies’ argument was based on Baldamo having undergone X-rays and CT scans early in July of 2017.
Judge’s Decision Rests on Date of Asbestos Victim’s Biopsy Results
Though asbestos defendants Farrell Lines, Chevron, and Chiquita all argued that the three-year statute of limitations clock should have begun ticking on the date that Mr. Baldamo’s X-ray and CT scans first showed a mass on his lung, the judge ruled against this assertion. Indicating that under the Jones Act, a “cause of action accrues for statute of limitations when a reasonable person knows or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known of both the injury and its governing cause.”
The court referred to previous mesothelioma rulings and other personal injury cases that showed that “the suspicion of cancer is insufficient alone to start the statute of limitations for a FELA claim and therefor for a Jones Act claim.” Because the family’s expert witnesses all attested that there was no way to have been certain that Baldamo had cancer until after they got the results of his biopsy in August of 2017, that was when the countdown started. The case will move on for a jury to decide.
If you or someone you love has been sickened by exposure to asbestos, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help you determine the best way to move forward. For more information, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.
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