Attorney and Building Trades advocate Jerry Neil Paul explains why he supports SB 447 in the California legislature, and why all Trades members should support it:
California is one of only five states that allow victims’ pain and suffering damages to die with them. All too often, grossly negligent corporate defendants take advantage of this law, purposefully prolonging court proceedings and hoping that delays will outlive the victims.
COVID-19 has made this problem worse, with no end in sight, especially for victims who suffer from terminal illness. These delays can significantly impact cases involving asbestos-related cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, and severe asbestosis, by giving defendants a means to deny a victim fair compensation for their negligence.
SB 447 would correct this injustice.
California’s inequitable law serves to protect negligent defendants who unfairly benefit
when the victims die before case resolution. This is unjustifiably cruel and punishes surviving families as they mourn the loss of a loved one, unable to hold the wrongdoer accountable.
It is especially devastating when the plaintiff’s damages are not primarily based on how much they earn. Typically, the plaintiff’s “pain and suffering” damages are much greater than the economic damages. Yet, pain and suffering damages are lost when the victim dies. It is tragic for the widow and family to lose this crucial financial help, while the defendant who caused this gets off at a cheap cost. This encourages defendants to continue their bad behavior.
To fully ensure deterrence and restore equity for plaintiffs who will not survive until the time that a trial’s verdict is entered, passing SB 447 would update California law to allow victims a means to preserve pain and suffering damages for their widow and family.
Show Your Support
We urge you to contact your state Assembly member and state senator with a call, letter or email to let them know you’re a strong supporter of SB 447. And please give us a call at the Paul Law Firm if you have any concerns or questions about asbestos-related mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis.