Weitz & Luxenberg has been ranked as the number one plaintiff law firm headquartered on the East Coast in filing asbestos cases. And we rank as #3 in filings in the whole United States.
The analysis, done by KCIC — a consulting firm advising companies on product liability — studied court filings nationwide to track the state of asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits. The report looked at overall trends in cases filed and in what jurisdictions these cases were filed. The report also provided information about clients in these cases. (1)
Decline in Asbestos Filings
The analysis found, overall, there was a decline of about 11% for the year 2020, as compared to previous years. This was, in part, attributed to the pandemic which caused courts to close for part of 2020. When looking at filings for specific diseases, filings for lung cancer increased by almost 9%, while filings for mesothelioma, other cancers, and nonmalignant cancers all decreased.
Most plaintiff law firms in the county were filing fewer complaints as compared to previous years. However, 7 of the top 15 firms in the country did increase the number of lawsuits filed. These top 15 firms filed 74% of all suits filed.
There was a decline in filings in most of the jurisdictions across the country. One notable exception was a 12.5% increase in St. Clair County, Illinois, and a 0.8% increase in Madison County, Illinois, which had the most filings in 2020.
New York City reported a slight decline of 1.3% for the year while Middlesex, New Jersey had a 15% increase.
The largest increase in filings was in San Francisco, California, at 35.4%.
The analysis noted there are several factors involved in where a suit is filed: where the claimant lives, where the claimant works, or the headquarters of the defendant corporation.
Filings by Type of Disease
Claims for mesothelioma were still the most common, but declined by 14% from 2019. New York City had the second highest number of filings in the country, following Madison County, Illinois. Filings in New York increased by 2.4% and filings in Middlesex, New Jersey ranked 6th, with an increase of 22.7%. Weitz & Luxenberg filed a significant percentage of the cases in both jurisdictions.
Claims relating to lung cancer from asbestos exposure have increased. Lung cancer cases comprised 40% of the total number of asbestos filings.
Gender and Age of Typical Victims
The analysis reported that the average age of an asbestos plaintiff has remained constant at 74 years old. The range of ages was from 26 years to 99 years old. “The majority of 2018-2019 lung cancer and non-malignant plaintiffs were between 70 and 74 years of age, while the largest percentage of mesothelioma plaintiffs filing in the same period were between 75 and 79 years old.” (1)
The majority of asbestos litigation plaintiffs are male. The percentage for all filings by gender was 87% male and 13% female. This balance changed when looking at non-occupational exposure. This would be exposure not related to work or a work environment. In 2020, 57.2% of those plaintiffs were women and 45.1% were men.
W&L Shows Strong Support for Clients
The KCIC 2020 report showed that asbestos litigation is still very active, and Weitz & Luxenberg is one of the number one firms providing strong support for the victims. New York City is still one the most active jurisdictions for this litigation.
Weitz & Luxenberg remain a strong resource for people who have been injured by exposure to asbestos.