Weitz & Luxenberg is ranked #2 across the entire United States in the number of cases filed among firms filing asbestos-related cases. We are the #1 New York law firm. Nationwide, mesothelioma filings accounted for nearly half of all asbestos lawsuits. Lung cancer cases constituted 40%. (1)
KCIC, a consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., generated the ranking report. The firm uses the data it collects to advise companies on their product liability concerns.
In preparing its report, KCIC evaluated court filings across the country, specifically tracking the trends in asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits. The report looks at types of cases as well as the diseases named and the individual jurisdictions where the cases were filed.
Asbestos Filings Trending Down Slightly
Overall, the report indicates asbestos filings trended down across the country in 2021 as compared to filings in 2020. But not by much, just less than 1%. Over a 5-year period, 2017-2021, the overall trend was downward. However, each year fluctuated, with some years showing a decline of almost 9% (2020) and other years showing a decline of 1% or less (both 2019 and 2021).
Lung Cancer Cases Up, Mesothelioma Down
For 2021, both lung cancer and mesothelioma cases declined, lung cancer by 1.1% and mesothelioma by 4.3%. However, the bigger picture over 5 years is lung cancer filings have gone up and mesothelioma filings have declined slightly.
None of this decline is constant. Significant variability occurred sometimes between just two years. For example, in 2020, mesothelioma case filings decreased 12% as compared to those of 2019. Other years experienced less decline.
For lung cancer, the rate increased 23% between 2018 and 2019. The increase between 2019 and 2020 was only 10%. The change between 2017 and 2018 was 0%, and just a 1% decrease occurred from 2020 to 2021.
Jurisdiction Trends for Filings
The top 15 jurisdictions across the country constitute 83% of all case filings in 2021. This number is similar for 2020.
For the past 3 years, Weitz & Luxenberg has remained fairly constant in the top 3 jurisdictions, with New York City ranking #3. Overall, New York City experienced a decline in filings (roughly 19%).
Madison County and St. Clair County, both in Illinois, ranked as #1 and #2 jurisdictions, respectively. However, Madison County saw a significant decline in case filings between 2020 and 2021 (roughly 19%). On the flip side, St. Clair saw a 50.2% increase, attributed to an increase in lung cancer cases filed.
Other notable increases in filings occurred in Wayne County, Michigan (nearly 21%), Kanawha, West Virginia (42%), and Orleans Parish, Louisiana (nearly 21%).
The top five jurisdictions — Madison County, St. Clair County, New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis — accounted for 60% of all asbestos case filings.
Gender and Age of Plaintiffs
Asbestos litigation for 2022 was composed primarily of men, 86%. This trend has been fairly constant in recent years.
Of the 31% of complaints providing the plaintiff’s date of birth, their average age was 74 years. There was little age variation if they were diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer.
In one notable instance, the plaintiff was a 28-year-old diagnosed with mesothelioma who claimed exposure to asbestos-contaminated talcum powder.
W&L Supports Our Clients
The good news for New Yorkers is 60 fewer people filed asbestos-exposure-related claims in New York in 2021 than they did in 2020. We hope this means fewer people are getting sick.
However, the 249 cases filed are still too many. As long as people are getting sick from asbestos exposure, Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys keep doing everything they can to provide strong, reliable support for victims of these devastating diseases.
We made this our mission in the 1980s, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to help people harmed through the negligent inactions or actions of others.