H.B. 477 was unanimously passed in the House, but was defeated in committee by the Louisiana Senate (vote 4-2).
Legislators had proposed legislation which would have meant that those claiming compensation would have to make additional disclosure. Nemeroff says this goes against long-standing rules regarding admission of evidence.
If defendants had been allowed to introduce evidence regarding hypothetical compensation, their final compensation might have been worth a great deal less, the law firm wrote. In some cases, the judge's ability to determine whether evidence was admissible in court might have been removed.
Founder of the Nemeroff Law Firm, Attorney Rick Nemeroff, said:
"This ill-conceived and potentially harmful legislation would have further victimized individuals suffering from mesothelioma and their families by forcing them to jump through unnecessary legal hoops and significantly reducing their ability to seek fair compensation.
Even worse, this legislation would have made it easier for the companies that caused that suffering to dodge their responsibility."
What is Mesothelioma?Mesothelioma, also known as malignant mesothelioma, is a form of cancer that attacks the protective lining of the internal organs (mesothelial cells), most commonly the lungs (pleura). In the majority of cases, patients with this aggressive cancer had been exposed to asbestos, a fibrous mineral that is extensively used in industry and construction. Patients may not develop the disease for several decades after exposure to asbestos.
Oncologists divide mesothelioma into three types (all three are nearly always caused by asbestos exposure):
- Pleural mesothelioms - affects the lining surrounding the lungs, the pleura. The most common form.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma - affects the lining of the abdomen, the peritoneum. The 2nd most common form.
- Pericardial mesothelioma - the rarest form. The protective layer covering the heart is affected.
Nemeroff Law Firm says that although legislation and measures have been in place to reduce people's exposure to asbestos, some companies still manufactured and used hazardous products well after their harmful effects were known.
According to court documents, officials in industry knew about the hazards to human health linked to asbestos exposure, but concealed them from the public.
Nemeroff Law Firm clients have been awarded more than $20 million in verdicts in Louisiana alone.