Delaware (DE) Asbestos Information:
Delaware not only has oldest court system in the U.S., it is also among the most corporate-business friendly. Few regulations control the actions of Delaware corporations, because of this many corporations that are actually headquartered elsewhere are incorporated in Delaware. Despite this, a “flood of asbestos lawsuits” was filed in Delaware starting in 2005. Interestingly, 80% of the plaintiffs were from out of state, as were the firms representing them.
If Delaware law favors corporations over people so greatly, why would a plaintiff’s lawyers want the case heard in a Delaware court? One of the answers is that, despite the state’s business-friendly reputation, Delaware allows joint and several liability – something that is not available in all states, yet is very helpful when an asbestos plaintiff brings action against multiple defendants, as is usually the case
There are also no limits on punitive damages in Delaware. Furthermore, federal law proposed at the time asbestos litigation started to increase in Delaware would have prohibited any defendant sued in his/her/its home state from removing the case to federal court – even a big corporation. Better yet for asbestos plaintiffs is the fact that Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (son of Senator Joe Biden) is a former plaintiff’s mesothelioma lawyer. It is one reason Delaware is becoming a “judicial hellhole” for corporations who are guilty of asbestos poisoning.
As the state with the oldest court system in the U.S., it should come as no surprise that Delaware has an extensive body of law, contained in 101 chapters.
Unlike many states, in which asbestos issues are usually covered under health, labor and occupational safety and/or environmental laws, the Delaware Code has an entire chapter dealing specifically with asbestos issues.
Chapter 78 contains some of the most detailed definitions, regulations and penal code related to asbestos of any state in the union. The State of Delaware takes its role as guardian of the public health quite seriously. Section 1 of Chapter 78 states:
“The Delaware General Assembly hereby declares that it is in the interest of the public to control, reduce and prevent the exposure of the public to asbestos. It is the intent of the General Assembly to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the public by regulating the practice of asbestos abatement, particularly in locations where the general public can reasonably be expected to have access for the purpose of ensuring that such abatement is performed in such a manner as to minimize exposure to asbestos fibers and contamination.”
Delaware is the home of DuPont Chemical Corporation, one of the worst corporate polluters. DuPont, along with several oil refineries run by Texaco, Sunoil and Getty among others, is a corporation that, through its own negligence, has been accused of exposing employees to asbestos. In addition, Dover Air Force Base has been identified as a site at which friable asbestos materials were used in a number of areas; in fact, approximately 30% of all mesothelioma victims are former members of the U.S. Armed Services, with a large portion of these being Navy veterans.
Delaware is one of the smallest states in the U.S., ahead only of Rhode Island in terms of area; the 2005 population was just over 840,000 – a little over 10% that of New York City. In a 20-year period, there were 249 reported deaths from asbestos exposure. Unlike many densely populated areas in the U.S. however, most of these were not from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma; in fact, over twice as many asbestos-related deaths were due to complications arising from asbestosis.
‘Delaware (DE) Asbestos, Asbestos Cancer & Mesothelioma General Resources’
Korris, Steve. “Asbestos Shift to Delaware is Sign of Distinction for Madison County.” Madison-St. Clair Record, 7 July 2005.
Delaware (DE) Job Sites At Risk From Asbestos Exposure:
Over the course of the last century, hundreds of thousands of workers were exposed to asbestos while on the job – and for the most part, they were not warned. Below is a list of Job sites covered on Asbestos.net from the state of Delaware (DE) where workers were potentially and unnecessarily put at risk:
Dupont Chemical Plants & Factories: Wilmington, DE
Delaware (DE) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:
Delaware has a recent history of malignant mesothelioma cases that are pro-victim, awarding damages in both personal injury and wrongful death suits. The statute of limitations on Delaware mesothelioma lawsuits allows for the fact that mesothelioma often not discovered until many years after exposure to asbestos. However, the law is clear-cut in making only one party, the last to cause injury from asbestos exposure, responsible for mesothelioma damages.
One of the biggest names in the state associated with asbestos exposure has been the car company DaimlerChrysler. The company has been sued for asbestos-exposure and asbestos-related disease due to their brake products. Chrysler has sought to argue that there is no medical link between these products and mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. The Superior Court of the State of Delaware, however, disagrees. In a 2006 decision, the court denied Chrysler’s request that certain expert testimony indicating the relationship between the brakes and the mesothelioma be excluded from the suit. The court allowed the testimony.
Cases prior to this one have looked primarily at who is to be held responsible for paying out damages in Delaware mesothelioma Lawsuits. For example, in the case of Nai v. Electric Hose & Rubber Co. and Dravo Corporation, the Superior Court of the State of Delaware looked at the issue of who would be the culpable insurance party ordered by a worker’s comp board to pay out damages. The case involved a man who had died from mesothelioma in 2001. The suit was brought on his behalf by a Delaware mesothelioma lawyer and completed in 2002, when it was determined that liability was held by the insurance company who had been the coverage provider in 1976, the time of the victim’s last injurious exposure to asbestos.
Based on this ruling, it can be seen that in Delaware, the party that will be held responsible is the one which was associated with the most recent exposure to asbestos, irrelevant of how many times exposure may have occurred at other locations. However, a court decision in 2007, which denied summary judgment in the case Roslyn S. McFaul v. Anchor Packing Company, et al.,indicates that a court will look closely to determine which party was truly the last to cause asbestos exposure. In that case, the Delaware mesothelioma lawyers for the wife of a man who died of mesothelioma in 2004 filed suit and two companies were in disagreement as to which was the one responsible. One party sought summary judgment due to its belief that it wasn’t the last company to cause exposure; however the court denied summary judgment because the facts of the case weren’t clear.
One of the most recent asbestos-related cases in Delaware took place in March, 2007. In that Delaware mesothelioma lawsuit, General Motors was ordered by the jury to pay $2 million to a retired mechanic who developed serious asbestos-related illnesses as a result of being exposed to asbestos through his work. Twenty-five years after exposure, in 2005, the victim in the case was diagnosed with mesothelioma. This shows a pro-victim stance in Delaware at the current time, with a lenient discovery rule allowing for litigation to occur based on the date of discovery of the mesothelioma.
If you are interested in filing a Delaware mesothelioma lawsuit you should know that Delaware, like most other states, has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Determining when to start the measuring of that time also varies from state to state so you may be best served by contacting a mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after a diagnosis is made. Wrongful death cases may also have a statute of limitations and the same or different rules for determining when to begin measuring. Whether or not your action is limited by statute, you may still be eligible to present claims to bankruptcy trusts that have billions of dollars for victims of asbestos.