Earlier this week, attorneys representing both sides of an asbestos lawsuit in Madison County conducted the jury selection process, choosing 14 jurors to hear the case out of a pool of 53 eligible local residents. And then the parties to the suit reached a settlement, thereby ending the case and relieving the jurors from service.
Although this sounds dramatic, it actually happens on a fairly regular basis. In any lawsuit, a trial is a long, expensive process with no guarantees as to how it will turn out or who (if anyone) will walk away victorious. And while it is certainly more advantageous, from a financial perspective, to reach a settlement before the long processes of discovery and other trial preparations begin, settling a case is ultimately a good move in many situations.
Further, unlike jury trials which are generally open to the public, transcribed and put into public record, the details of a settlement can be kept private. This is especially advantageous for companies who don’t want to appear as if they are admitting guilt or responsibility for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma or other injury.
Some plaintiffs may be unwilling to end their case in settlement. If they have suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence, they may want the details of the defendant’s actions (or inactions) to be stated out loud in court and written down for the world to read and remember.
However, for the financial and logistical reasons discussed above, it may also be more advantageous for plaintiffs to assent to a settlement in some situations. A skilled mesothelioma attorney can help you decide which route is the right one for you and your case.
Source: Madison Record, “Madison County asbestos case settles after 14 jurors picked,” Christina Stueve Hodges, Sept. 19, 2012