The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled on a case about asbestos exposure that set a new precedent for these kinds of worker’s compensation cases. Prior to the ruling, if workers were to file a claim about asbestos exposure against their employer, they must have experienced symptoms within 300 weeks of last working under that employer according to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. The new ruling in Tooey v. AK Steel Corp. would allow workers’ claims about asbestos exposure against employers to remain valid after those 300 weeks end, citing the fact that many symptoms of asbestos exposure often do not manifest themselves until long after 300 weeks.

This new precedent for asbestos cases has inspired employees and their lawyers to pursue similar rulings for other kinds of chemical exposures and resulting illnesses. A state appeals court has revived a case involving a mesothelioma case that was brought against Duquesne Light Company by the family of former employee Albert Scott. In Scott v. Duquesne Light Co., Scott was denied any benefits through the Workers’ Compensation Act because his mesothelioma had not manifested any symptoms within 300 weeks of his last day at Duquesne Light. He worked for Duquesne for 40 years and was allegedly exposed to asbestos throughout his employment. He died in December 2007, six months after his initial diagnosis.

The court panel argued that mesothelioma takes even longer to show symptoms than asbestos, sometimes even 30 to 50 years after initial exposure to the cause, and so related claims should be able to be extended past the 300 weeks window as well. Although the court initially denied the claim because of the Workers’ Compensation Act, the new precedent in the recent asbestos case has prompted them to revisit the ruling and have the precedent extended to cases of mesothelioma.

http://www.law360.com/employment/articles/538182/pa-supreme-court-ruling-breathes-life-into-asbestos-case

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