Philadelphia - a settlement reached in a suit filed by Rosemary T. Checho, widow of Thomas N. Checho, a victim of mesothelioma, who died in September 2012. Ms. Checho alleged that her husband contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos during his 35-year career as a composition metal machine operator.
After the Solicitor for the plaintiff, Michael C. Mudd, raised some questions concerning the method of Philadelphia processing of asbestos cases, the case was settled for an undisclosed amount.
Mudd has filed a motion asking a judge specially leave General Court Regulation No. 2013-01, which historically has deferred claims for punitive damages in the case of asbestos. However, late 2011, Judge John w. Herron, the administrative judge of the trial division Philadelphia, changed the rules so that the case of asbestos were not "reverse bifurcated," which means that they have not carried over and consolidated with similar cases.
In its filing, Mudd argued that the inability of the applicant to present a request for punitive damages to the jury was a violation of Ms. Checho right to due process.
"Since the Philadelphia asbestos, tests are most reversed bifurcated, justifying the postponement of punitive damages claims no longer exists," Mudd wrote in its filing. If a jury may reasonably conclude the defendant guilty based on evidence, "then the damages punitive damages claim should be submitted to the jury," he also wrote.
Exposure to airborne asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma, this is why the widespread use of the dangerous substance has been banned in the 1970s. Mesothelioma has a period of latency extended; many of the victims of the disease were exposed to asbestos for decades, often before the entry into force of the ban. Each year, approximately 3,000 mesothelioma diagnoses are made.