Daley v. A.W. Chesterton Addresses the Two Disease Rule in Mesothelioma Cases

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After a lifetime of hard work and dedication, a diagnosis of mesothelioma can seem daunting. Fighting for your health should be your main concern. Our mesothelioma plaintiff’s attorneys understand that you need an experienced attorney to help you get the award you deserve in your mesothelioma injury case.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer associated with the inhaling of asbestos. This cancer is most common in the lungs and can create many uncomfortable symptoms and chest pain. Asbestos is a durable material used in manufacturing and building in the late 1800’s- early 1900’s. This substance is very dangerous, however at the time of its heightened use there was little knowledge about the medical affects of it.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania heard the case Daley v. A.W. Chesterton and considered whether an individual is allowed to bring a separate lawsuit for more than one malignant disease where there is reason to believe that the diseases are a result of the same asbestos exposure.

This case hinges on a legal rule called the two disease rule, which allows an individual to bring separate lawsuits where the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos which resulted in the plaintiff being diagnosed with separate malignant diseases.

In 1989 Plaintiff was diagnosed with both pulmonary asbestosis and squamous-cell carcinoma. These are two malignant diseases plaintiff contracted in his right lung. He sued several parties and obtained a settlement for the diseases he contracted while working with asbestos. That action was settled in 1994.

In 2005, Plaintiff was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, for which he argues he contracted because of the same asbestos that he was exposed to, which had led to his earlier settlement. Plaintiff sued fourteen parties with his argument hinging on this two disease rule in Pennsylvania.

The defendants argued that when the plaintiff was diagnosed with his first malignant disease and filed that original lawsuit, the state of Pennsylvania has not yet adopted this two-disease rule. Because of this statutory time bar, the companies argued that the rules of the Pennsylvania single cause of action requirements should be upheld.

The court in this case clarifies some of the rules surrounding asbestos today. In Pennsylvania, the courts have created a limited exception to the original cause of action requirements in an individual claim with the adaptation of the two-disease rule. The central focus of this exception was to provide for the asbestos related diseases.

Defendants argued that by applying this two disease rule, the courts would be over-burdened with claims. The court disagreed and cited how rare these mesothelioma cases are and furthermore, that the studies have shown that the distinct asbestos related malignancies are usually respiratory.

The court ruled that because the plaintiff filed the original claim for a different malignant asbestos related disease and he did not know at the time of this first claim that he was ill with the second asbestos related disease, he was still able to bring the subsequent action.

Although the court considered both arguments in this case, it was held that the separated disease rule which was adopted in Pennsylvania, allows the plaintiff in this case to file a second action for the new malignant asbestos-related disease.

The Ferraro Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services, including mesothelioma legal help. Call 1-800-275-3332 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

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