Georgia Mesothelioma Lawyer

Georgia (GA) Asbestos Information:

Asbestos is in fact an issue of great concern to many people in Georgia, including those involved in their state chapter of the Environmental Information Association. This group regularly provides information on asbestos management, abatement and disposal, including a list of authorized disposal sites and education on the state’s geology and how that relates to naturally-occurring asbestos in the southern Appalachian region.

Old Country

Geologically, the Appalachians are a very old range in comparison to the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest, dating back some 300 million years. Like most continental mountain ranges, they were caused by the collision of the earth’s tectonic plates. As a result, the rock was subjected to incredible pressures and temperature extremes–ideal conditions for the formation of asbestiform minerals.

As a result, there are many deposits of naturally-occurring asbestos in the northern part of the state. Most of these are located in the northwest corner of Georgia near the borders of North and South Carolina. From there, these asbestos deposits run in a southeasterly direction, through the Atlanta metro region and on to the Westpoint Lake area. According to geologic maps, there is also an “outlier” deposit located near Milledgeville, about 50 miles northeast of Macon.

New Industry

On a geologic timescale, the 200 years of the Industrial Age is no time at all. Asbestos has been used in Georgia’s industries as long as anywhere else, and is found in the same types of industrial settings and public buildings. Specific locations include the power plants in Cartersville (Bowen), Rome (Hammond), Macon (Scherer), and Waynesboro (Vogtle), the U.S. Army base at Fort Benning, and the Atlanta Journal Building.

One major corporation that has been found liable in a great number of asbestos cases is Georgia-Pacific, based in Atlanta. In addition to building materials that contained asbestos, Georgia-Pacific has also operated paper and pulp mills. Paper manufacture involves the use of “drying felts,” which contained asbestos and which were frequently fixed in place using asbestos-containing adhesives.

Telling Priorities

Georgia-Pacific was among the many corporations that were behind the so-called “F.A.I.R.” (“Fairness in Asbestos Injury Recovery”) Act put forward by Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), which died in committee in 2006. This law would have denied asbestos victims the right to sue corporations for their injuries while shielding those same corporations from liability.

It appeared the concern of Georgia-Pacific management may not necessarily been the pain, suffering and economic devastation of these victims, but rather their stock price. Because GP faced so much asbestos litigation, the price of their stock had dropped. When the F.A.I.R. Act was under consideration in 2003, the value went up about 12%.

That year, GP management decided to establish a $665 million fund specifically to cover asbestos liabilities through 2012.

Mortality Statistics

According to the 2000 census, the population of Georgia was approximately 8.1 million; in the 20-year period prior to that, 538 people died due to asbestos-related disease statewide, 319 of which were mesothelioma patients. The majority of these were in Fulton, Chatham, DeKalb, Cobb and Richmond Counties. Although no Georgia county was spared, predominantly rural counties such as Fayette, Murray and Worth had only a single fatality each; deaths in these counties were roughly evenly divided between malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Georgia (GA) Asbestos Cancer & Mesothelioma Doctors:

The diagnosis and treatment of asbestos-related cancers and other diseases is gradually becoming a sub-specialty in the field of medicine all its own. However, as of the present time, there is no medical degree that is specific to asbestos-related practice.

Most doctors focusing on asbestos disease today are trained in oncology, thoracic surgery, respiratory or occupational medicine, or some related field.

Georgia (GA) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:

Georgia courts seem to be divided as to whether or not they are pro-victim in Georgia mesothelioma lawsuits. On the one hand, cases arising from asbestos-related diseases such as the asbestos cancer mesothelioma can be consolidated to help speed up the process of recovering damages for victims. Additionally, despite new legislation that prevents suits from being filed until damage has been proven, there are safeguards in place to make sure that the statute of limitations is extended to account for the legislation. However, these pro-victim laws do not extend to third-party victims of mesothelioma as they might in other states.

In Georgia, cases that all arise from asbestos-related disease can be consolidated. This is due to a 1982 ruling in Savannah in which the lawyers argued that Rule 42(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allowed cases involving similar injuries arising from the same conduct to be consolidated for trial. Their argument was that forcing each action to be tried individually would have delayed, and almost certainly in some instances would have denied, the asbestos victim’s day in court. The Georgia mesothelioma lawyers were granted a motion for a consolidated trial on behalf of four asbestos victims. The defendants appealed the consolidation, but in 1985 the Eleventh Circuit upheld the District Court’s decision to allow consolidation. This was an important ruling for Georgia as well as for other states because once the court established a precedent for Rule 42(a) consolidation, motions to consolidate asbestos and mesothelioma cases were filed in a number of jurisdictions.

This pro-victim legislation was balanced with somewhat anti-victim legislation in 2005 in the case of CSX Transportation Inc. v Williams et. al. In this case, it was determined that CSX transportation was only responsible for Georgia mesothelioma damages to those people who were actually employed by the company. Family members who contracted the disease due to second-hand exposure such as that brought home on the clothes of CSX employees living in the home are not able to collect damages in Georgia.

Those interested in filing Georgia mesothelioma lawsuit or hiring a Georgia mesothelioma lawyer should know that the statute of limitations for personal injury law in Georgia is two years with a discovery rule that states that this amount of time begins when the problem (in this case the mesothelioma) either was discovered or should have been discovered. Wrongful death cases fall under the same statute of limitations and follow the same discovery rule with the time beginning at date of death.

Until recently, Georgia had had no specific statutes about asbestos. However, in 2005, legislation passed in Georgia limited the mesothelioma lawsuits that would be seen by the court upon filing by a Georgia mesothelioma lawyer. This legislation limits lawsuits to only those victims who have suffered physical ailment because of exposure to asbestos. The legislation means that asbestos exposure alone is not sufficient grounds for filing a lawsuit: victims must become physically ill from the exposure. However, the law also extends the statute of limitations for those eligible to file a complaint. Despite varying opinions, state Senator John Wiles, who sponsored the bill, said both the business community and the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association support the new law. There was initially some concern that Georgia mesothelioma lawsuits already filed before the new law would be affected by it; however court rulings determined that the law applies only to new cases.