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11/21/2019 By Megan Shockley

KCIC is excited to be referenced in the November 18th Wall Street Journal article, Baltimore Fights to Clear Massive Backlog of Asbestos Cases, written by Sara Randazzo.  The article details the current court battle taking place in Baltimore City where judges have begun enacting an aggressive plan to clear the enormous backlog of asbestos cases in that jurisdiction.  This plan, which has been used in other jurisdictions, involves proceeding with 500 asbestos cases per month.  Plaintiffs’ firms like the Law Offices of Peter Angelos in Baltimore argue that this schedule does not give them adequate time to track down the information they would need to take these very old cases to trial.  These firms suggest case consolidations be used instead to give them more time to effectively clear the docket.  Defense firms counter that such consolidations allow for weak/illegitimate cases to be grouped in with legitimate cases, encouraging more filings and making it harder for defendants to defend themselves.

* 2019 is for filings received through 10/31/19

KCIC provided the WSJ with filing statistics to show how asbestos filings in Baltimore City differ from asbestos filings elsewhere in the country.  By mining the lawsuit information we gather from complaints, we are in a unique position to be able to compare a particular jurisdiction, like Baltimore, to the “norm”.  What stands out the most about Baltimore asbestos filings is the number of filings in that jurisdiction that are non-malignant.  From 2014 through October 2019, non-malignant cases have made up 58% of Baltimore City filings.  In comparison, all other jurisdictions (excluding Baltimore) had only 12% of total filings comprised of non-malignant claims.  By contrast, the rest of the country has 52% of filings made up of mesothelioma claims – a malignancy commonly associated with asbestos exposure, whereas mesothelioma makes up only 4% of Baltimore City filings in this time frame.

KCIC is continuing to work on a more in-depth analysis on Baltimore City filings and how this jurisdiction is, in many ways, an outlier compared to others in asbestos litigation.  Stay tuned for additional publications from us on this topic!