Statute of Limitations Decision Rests on Who is Filing the Mesothelioma Claim

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently reversed a lower court decision regarding a mesothelioma claim, and in doing so they clarified the importance of understanding on whose behalf a personal injury claim is being filed.  The question revolved around the death of Thomas Deem, an outside marine machinist at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard who died in 2015.


Mesothelioma Widow’s Claim Wrongly Dismissed

Mr. Deem was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in February 2015, and the disease claimed his life a few months later, in July. Just shy of three years after his passing, in June of 2018, his wife Sheri filed a wrongful death claim against several companies that had manufactured, sold, and distributed the asbestos that was used in his workplace and to which he had been exposed. Those companies filed a motion to have the case dismissed, pointing to her suit having been filed more than three years after his diagnosis.  The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington granted their petition and dismissed the case.

Mrs. Deem appealed the district court’s decision, arguing that though more than three years had passed since her husband’s mesothelioma diagnosis, her case was filed less than three years before his death. She’d filed a wrongful death claim on her own behalf, and in her appeal she argued that her filing fell within the required time limit.

Court of Appeals Agrees With Mesothelioma Widow

The Court of Appeals agreed with Mrs. Deem and allowed her mesothelioma claim to move forward. In their decision they noted that the date on which the statute of limitations clock begins ticking is entirely dependent upon the type of claim that is being filed. “A wrongful death claim cannot arise or accrue before death even if the cause of death is anticipated. Stated another way, the plaintiff in a personal injury action or a survival action for the seaman’s estate after his death assumes the legal posture of the seaman, but by contrast, the plaintiff in a wrongful death action is necessarily a family member or relative of the deceased.”

FREE Financial Compensation Packet

  • Info on law firms that will recover your HIGHEST COMPENSATION
  • Learn how to get paid in 90 days
  • File for your share of $30 billion in trust funds
Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger


Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.

Connect with Mesothelioma Attorney Paul Danziger