A New York appeals court has reversed a decision made by the Saratoga County Supreme Court. In the original case, the defendants (several lab and biotech companies) stated that they did not cause the pleural mesothelioma of a recently diagnosed woman who worked for the Westchester County Department of Labs and Research (WCDLR), arguing that the victim did not provide enough proof to support her claim. The judge agreed, and dismissed the case. The plaintiff appealed.
The victim, who worked for WCDLR from 1975 to 1979, claimed that the companies did cause her pleural mesothelioma and were negligent for having supplied her employer with asbestos-contaminated equipment. After reviewing the case, the appeals court reversed the original decision, stating that in asbestos cases the asbestos companies have the burden of showing that they did not cause the victims mesothelioma.
In the original case, the companies also argued that too much time had passed since 1979, and they no longer had records showing that they sold asbestos-laden products to WCDLR. To this, the appeals court asserted that the companies’ claim that they did not have any documentation from the 1970s was not the same as proving they did not sell asbestos-tainted products to WCDLR.
With the decision, the mesothelioma victim and her family can now proceed with the case against the defendants, and hopefully get some justice.
About Pleural Mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma and it occurs in the lining of the chest cavity & lungs (pleura). When mesothelioma develops in the pleura, the layers of the pleura thicken and press inwards on the lung. Fluid may also collect between the two layers. This is called a pleural effusion. This causes symptoms such as cough, pain in the side of the chest or lower back, fatigue, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, weight loss (without trying), fever, trouble swallowing (feeling like food gets stuck), hoarseness, and swelling of the face and arms.
There is no cure for mesothelioma. However, standard treatments such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, could improve outcomes, especially if the disease is caught early.
If you have been exposed to asbestos, contact your doctor immediately. Although mesothelioma could take decades to develop, a number of tests are now in development that could help detect the disease long before any symptoms appear.
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