In recent years, asbestos litigation has become one of the most rapidly growing areas of personal injury law. There are currently more than 200,000 asbestos and mesothelioma claims pending in state and federal courts, and tens of thousands of new asbestos claims are filed every year. However, it took quite some time before asbestos litigation began to show results for injured victims.
The first asbestos claim was filed in 1966 by Claude Tomplait in Beaumont, Texas. There were eleven manufacturers of asbestos-containing products listed as defendants in the claim. In 1969, Tomplait’s case went to trial, and it only took one week for the jury to return a verdict in favor of the defendants.
Later in 1969, one of Tomplait’s co-workers filed a similar lawsuit after developing an asbestos-related disease. However, in this case, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the injured victim, awarding him approximately $80,000. This victory opened the door for other asbestos victims across the country to file claims seeking compensation for their injuries.
In 1974, Reba Rudkin won a precedent-setting asbestos lawsuit against his employer, the Johns-Manville manufacturing plant. Rudkin developed asbestosis after 29 years of employment at the plant. Normally, his damages would be covered by workers’ compensation law. However, the courts ruled that Johns-Manville could be held liable on fraud and conspiracy charges after evidence was presented that the company had been suppressing knowledge of the dangers of asbestos from their employees since the 1930s.
In 1981, the California Supreme Court upheld the ruling allowing Johns-Manville employees to sue the company over asbestos-related injuries. Faced with a multitude of lawsuits, Johns-Manville filed bankruptcy in 1982. Many other asbestos companies would be forced into bankruptcy shortly afterward.
During the 1980s, several medical and scientific studies were released indicating that mesothelioma and other asbestos-related conditions could be contracted by asbestos exposure at places where these materials were used for purposes such as insulation. This expanded the scope of asbestos litigation to include victims exposed to the substance while working in:
- Power plants
- Construction jobs
Over the past 40 years, there have been more than 730,000 asbestos claims filed resulting in billions of dollars in damage awards. Due to the complex nature of these claims, it is important to work with a law firm that specializes in asbestos litigation to ensure the greatest likelihood of success for your claim.
The Baltimore asbestos lawyers at Brown | Gould | Kiely, LLP have represented many individuals who have developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases at their work site. We have the skills, resources, and experience needed to hold the negligent parties accountable for your injuries. Over the years, we have recovered millions of dollars in settlements for asbestos victims.
If you have an asbestos claim in the Baltimore, Maryland or Washington, D.C. area, please contact our Baltimore asbestos lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation.