Although there was a slight decrease in the number of lawsuits related to mesothelioma nationwide in 2017, a consulting firm that covers mass tort and liability litigation from Washington, DC has reported an increase in the number of mesothelioma lawsuits in the local region during the same year.
In Philadelphia alone, there were 88 mesothelioma filings in 2015, 97 in 2016, and then a surprising thirty-two percent increase in filings in 2017, for a total of 128 in our region.
The reason for the increase is unknown. This is opposite from the national trend for asbestos-related filings, where there were 5,336 filings in 2015, 4,812 in 2016, and 4,450 in 2017, representing a decrease of 7.5%. Nearly 2200 of those filings concerned mesothelioma.
In these lawsuits in the Philadelphia area, there are usually an average of thirty-one defendants named in the lawsuit. The average plaintiff in a mesothelioma lawsuit is a male, who did not have a primary profession related to asbestos abating. In the past three years nationally, male plaintiffs have accounted for eighty-five percent of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits. In 2017, nationwide, females comprised only a little more than ten percent of mesothelioma plaintiffs in lawsuits.
Lawsuits where the person was in a profession where he or she was exposed to asbestos secondarily, such as someone who did not work in construction, or where they would be expected to have exposure to asbestos, are called “secondary exposure” lawsuits. In 2017, Philadelphia ranked fifth out of a total of 263 lawsuits nationwide, since there were seven secondary exposure lawsuits in our region.
Since mesothelioma litigation is usually concentrated in certain regions of the country, tort reform legislation can affect how these lawsuits will play out in court. If Congress or local legislators become involved, it could change when lawsuits are filed, and how much plaintiffs can recover.
Mesothelioma has been linked to working in coal mines, which could explain the increase in the number of mesothelioma lawsuits in the state of Pennsylvania. As shipyards are another known source for asbestos exposure, this could explain the increased filings locally. Further, Philadelphia has long been ranked in the top 10 jurisdictions for asbestos filings nationwide. and was ranked fourth in 2017.
With new research and treatment breakthroughs, this could be beneficial to many of the patients in our region, but it is still important for families to obtain legal representation when loved ones could have been unknowingly exposed to mesothelioma at a job where they could have received secondary exposure.
If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos, contact a Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyer at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. To set up an initial consultation, complete our online form or call 215-569-4000 or 800-369-0899. For more than three decades we have served the people of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.