In a move that worries advocates who rally for the rights of mesothelioma sufferers, yesterday the Wisconsin State Assembly passed a bill that will supposedly inject “transparency” into any asbestos-related lawsuits filed in the state.
A story aired on Fox News 11 reports that the measure, proposed by Republican Senator Andre Jacque of DePere, passed the state House of Representatives by a vote of 58 to 39. Next, it goes to the state senate for approval there, after which it may be signed into effect.
Jacque and many of his Republican colleagues were pleased at the outcome, stating that the bill would “prevent lawyers from hiding multiple claims in hopes of maximizing awards.”
Jacque also notes that the bill would help judges and jurors to clearly see how many defendants may be at fault for a particular plaintiff’s illness, ensuring that the defendants divide the damages fairly according to their culpability.
Opponents of the bill, however, say it’s just another way to keep sufferers of asbestos diseases from getting what is due them. Most believe that, if this bill passes through the Senate, asbestos cases will be significantly slowed as the discovery period will take much longer. There will be a lot more paperwork as well.
All of this, they say, is being done in hopes that plaintiffs will die before the cases come to trial, protecting corporations from having to make payouts to the individual filing the suit. Many believe it’s a travesty against individuals who are already suffering greatly, reduced to just a shadow of their former self thanks to the horrifying symptoms of mesothelioma, which often kills victims less than a year after diagnosis. Though new mesothelioma treatments have been developed within the last several years, it’s a cancer that still tends to spread rapidly and responds poorly to most treatments.