It is a relatively common occurrence: the parties in a lawsuit go through the time and effort to get ready for trial, only to reach a settlement at the last possible second before the trial is slated to begin. While this may seem like a frustrating development, it is usually considered a good thing, because the parties and the court are now able to avoid the time and cost of a lengthy trial.
This is what happened in a Madison County courtroom just last week. Moments before an asbestos lawsuit was scheduled to begin, the plaintiff and the last remaining defendant were able to reach a settlement. The newly selected jury was sent home, and the case was over.
According to court documents, the lawsuit was brought on behalf of a now-deceased man who had worked as a construction worker for more than two decades, including 17 years in Illinois. During that time, he was exposed to and inhaled asbestos fibers that were in the products around which he worked.
The man’s son, who brought the lawsuit on his behalf, named 57 defendant companies in the lawsuit. All but one of the companies settled prior to the start of the suit, with Honeywell International as the last holdout.
The day before the trial was scheduled to begin, Honeywell filed a motion asking the court to exclude the plaintiff’s expert testimony that asbestos from a Honeywell product had caused the man’s mesothelioma. The next day, the company and the son reached a settlement.
This last-minute case resolution is not an unusual occurrence. We previously wrote about a similar eleventh-hour asbestos lawsuit settlement in a blog post earlier this month.
Source: The Madison Record, “Jury brought in, then sent home after lawyers settle asbestos case,” Christina Stueve, Mar. 21, 2012