WV Update – West Virginia Enacts Legislation Impacting Asbestos and Silica Lawsuits
On April 15, 2021, West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice, signed House Bill 2495 into law. Notably, this bill codifies the following requirements for asbestos and silica lawsuits:
- A plaintiff with a non-malignant condition must file a medical report and diagnosis, prepared by a qualified physician and meeting the statutory requirements, within ninety days of filing a Complaint.
- Defendants must be given a reasonable opportunity before trial to challenge the adequacy of the evidence that the plaintiff has satisfied the statutory requirements.
- Within 60 days of filing a Complaint and after the amendments go into effect, a plaintiff must file a sworn information form which discloses specific details as to the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s work history, and information as to exposure including product manufacturers, dates of exposure, and the location of such exposures.
- For cases filed prior to effective date, a plaintiff must also include a similar, but less thorough information form.
- Upon motion of a defendant, the court shall dismiss a plaintiff’s asbestos or silica case without prejudice as to a defendant whose product or premises is not identified in the required disclosures.
- Upon motion of a defendant, the court shall dismiss a plaintiff’s asbestos or silica case without prejudice as to all defendants if plaintiff fails to comply the requirements for disclosures.
- All asbestos and silica actions must be filed individually and not as part of a group or class. SeeVa. Code §55-7G-4(a) – (h).
These changes to the West Virginia Code will go into effect on July 14, 2021.