Our national mass tort lawyers represent victims of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma across the state of Louisiana. We have the resources and expertise to get top level compensation for Louisiana mesothelioma lawsuits. On this page, we will look at mesothelioma lawsuits in Louisiana and their settlement payout value.
Mesothelioma – A Man Made Cancer
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is rare and deadly. It is also very unusual because unlike other cancers which can be caused by genetics and various other natural factors, mesothelioma is only caused by one thing: exposure to airborne asbestos particles. Asbestos exposure is the only thing that causes mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is one of the rarest types of cancer. Only 3,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S., which is less than 1% of all cancer types. Mesothelioma is also considered the most dangerous type of cancer. Mesothelioma is not treatable and it will eventually cause death, sometimes sooner than later. The 5-year survival rate is under 12%.
Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is only known to be cause by 1 thing and that is exposure to asbestos, more specifically inhalation of airborne asbestos particles. You don’t get mesothelioma unless you were exposed to asbestos at some point.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber-like mineral found in the earth. It is virtually indestructible and is totally resistant to extreme heat. These properties made asbestos one of the most widely used materials from the late 1800s to the mid-1970s. The problem is that these same properties also made asbestos toxic to the human body.
When asbestos particles in the air are inhaled, they get into the lungs and body and never leave. Instead, the fibers accumulate and dig into the lung tissue and other tissue. Once embedded they eventually form into cancer. The “latency period” (i.e., the time between asbestos exposure and the development of mesothelioma) can be anywhere from 15 to 40 years.
Louisiana Asbestos Law
Navigating the intricacies of mesothelioma litigation in Louisiana demands an understanding of several critical legal constructs that are specific to this state.
Statute of Limitations: In Louisiana, mesothelioma lawsuits must be filed within one year of the date of diagnosis or within one year from the date the plaintiff should have known of the diagnosis. This statute is governed by Louisiana’s Civil Code and the specifics of the law may be found under Article 3492.This is a much shorter timeframe compared to many other states. One year is just ridiculous, especially in these cases with the long latency period of mesothelioma, which can be decades after asbestos exposure. Prompt legal action is crucial.
Proving Liability in a Louisiana Asbestos Lawsuit: The established legal principle in asbestos-related cases dictates that to establish a manufacturer’s or professional seller’s liability for an asbestos-containing product, the claimant must demonstrate that their exposure to the product in question was considerable enough to be a significant contributor to their harm. This evidentiary benchmark, crafted by Louisiana’s judiciary through numerous asbestos cases, is referred to as the “substantial factor test.” To put it another way, the claimant is required to show, with greater evidence than not, that (1) their interaction with the asbestos product from the defendant was not minimal, and (2) such exposure was a considerable element in causing their mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related condition.
Asbestos Different from Other Personal Injury: The criteria for establishing fault in an asbestos lawsuit differ depending on whether the defendant is a manufacturer/professional seller of an asbestos product or a non-manufacturer, like an employer or property owner. For a manufacturer, liability hinges on significant exposure to their product. In contrast, for a non-manufacturer, such as an employer or premises owner, liability is determined by general negligence laws, involving an analysis of duty and risk. This analysis considers what the defendant knew or ought to have known about the dangers of asbestos on their property and the measures they took or should have taken to warn and safeguard those within their realm of responsibility. However, regardless of the defendant’s role as a manufacturer or non-manufacturer, the burden of proving causation in an asbestos case remains consistent. Even though past cases may have dealt with product liability defendants and the current case involves a premises owner, the same standard for causation is applied: the asbestos exposure must have been a significant contributing factor to the claimant’s illness.
Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Claims: Some mesothelioma cases are handled through workers’ compensation claims if the exposure occurred on the job. But few Louisiana mesothelioma lawsuits are pure comp cases. Why? There are usually at least a dozen defendants in the typical asbestos lawsuits. However, personal injury lawsuits can also be filed against companies that manufactured, distributed, or used asbestos-containing products.
Wrongful Death Claims: If a mesothelioma victim passes away, as tragically is so often the case with these claims, their family or estate may file a wrongful death claim within one year of their death to seek compensation for their loss.
Asbestos Trust Funds: In cases where the responsible company has gone bankrupt, compensation may still be available through asbestos trust funds that have been established to pay out claims to victims.
Settlement Value of Louisiana Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Mesothelioma lawsuits have a very high potential settlement value for several reasons. First, mesothelioma is such a deadly form of cancer. Most mesothelioma cases end up being wrongful death cases. Second, mesothelioma is only known to be caused by asbestos exposure (and nothing else) which makes establishing causation very easy in most cases.
The main issue in most mesothelioma lawsuits today is not proving that asbestos cause the disease, but identifying specific asbestos products that the plaintiffs were exposed to so that defendants can be identified. This is often hard because a long time has usually passed since the plaintiff used the products, or they are already dead. Most mesothelioma cases today settled out of court with an average value of range of $1,100,000 to $2,400,000.
Louisiana Mesothelioma Verdicts & Settlements
Below are summaries of verdicts and publicly reported settlements in Louisiana mesothelioma cases. Most mesothelioma lawsuits result in confidential settlements, which means that we have limited number of verdicts and reported settlements to include.
$8,261,875 Verdict (Parish of Orleans 2022): The plaintiff claimed that he developed mesothelioma from occupational exposure to asbestos during his career as a mechanic from 1969 to 1979 where he handled friction products including brakes and clutches designed, manufactured, supplied and sold by defendant Ford Motor Company. The lawsuit alleged that Ford Motor Company was negligent in manufacturing brakes with asbestos from 1969 to 1979, failing to warn of the dangers of asbestos, failing to institute safety procedures to protect the plaintiff, and failing to provide proper safety appliances, among other failures. Jury awarded $8.2 million, but the judge later reduced the award to $1,032,734.
$7,750,661 Verdict (La. Fed. Ct. 2020): The decedent died after contracting malignant mesothelioma due to his exposure to asbestos while employed as a chemical engineer at a facility owned and/or operated by defendant Ethyl Corporation. The lawsuit claimed that the decedent had breathed harmful amounts of asbestos fibers while working at the defendant’s facility from 1955 until 1959; moreover, the plaintiffs contended that the levels of asbestos to which the decedent was exposed during his employment with the defendant exceeded the applicable asbestos-air-concentration standards at the time. Verdict was reduced to $2.5 million based on prior settlements with third parties.
$1,216,714 Verdict (Parish of Orleans 2017): The plaintiff reportedly developed pleural mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure from his employment at a facility owned and operated by defendant Union Carbide Corporation, as well as from his residing at homes located on the West Bank of the Mississippi River in New Orleans, La., that were in close proximity to an asbestos cement factory owned and operated by defendant Johns-Manville. The lawsuit claimed that the defendants had negligently manufactured, designed, supplied, packaged and/or sold asbestos-containing products at their facilities and that he had been exposed to such asbestos-containing products and construction materials. The verdict included $250,000 for pain and suffering and $710,000 for medical expenses.
$5,667,504 Verdict (Parish of Orleans 2015): The plaintiff in this case never actually worked around asbestos. She claimed that she was exposed to asbestos because a Johns Manville facility was located in the neighbor where she grew up. She also claimed secondary asbestos exposure as a result of asbestos fibers having been present on the clothes of her former husband who had allegedly been employed in various trades at Union Carbide Corporation. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma 20 years later.
$6,420,467 Verdict (Parish of Orleans 2013): The plaintiff in this case also never worked directly with asbestos. She contended that when she was a child in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the early 1970s, her father was employed at the Johns-Manville facility located in Marrero, La. She asserted that she was exposed to asbestos as a result of asbestos fibers that were present on her father’s work clothes. Years later she was diagnosed with mesothelioma in her 50s.
$4,401,393 Verdict (Parish of Orleans 2012): The plaintiff worked as a mechanic for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office from 1972 until 1996. During his time of employment, the plaintiff allegedly performed brake repairs on hundreds of automobiles manufactured by the Ford Motor Company, which allegedly contained asbestos. At age 81, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma, over 35 years after his last exposure to asbestos.
Contact Us About Your Louisiana Mesothelioma Case
If you have Louisiana mesothelioma lawsuit, contact the product liability lawyers at Miller Zois today for a free case evaluation. Call us at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.