A private settlement was reached in a mass litigation asbestos case [on July 28, 2020] in Ohio County [(West Virginia)] Circuit Court, meaning a trial set to take place at The Highlands Event Center next week won’t be necessary.
Both Ohio County Clerk of Courts Brenda Miller and court employees for Judge Ronald Wilson said details of the settlement weren’t available to the public on Tuesday.
Negotiations between attorneys with Wilson present took place at the event center starting Monday morning, and the agreement was announced at about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday.
If a settlement hadn’t been reached, jury selection for the trial would have started today at the event center and continued throughout the week. A trial would have begun there Monday morning.
Wilson had encouraged a settlement, raising concerns about a trial with everyone in masks with the threat of COVID-19 present, according to a letter sent to the attorneys.
The mass litigation involves 38 mesothelioma and lung cancer cases that have more than 100 defendants each, and some of the cases have more than 140 defendants, according to court records.
Miller explained the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has granted permission for circuit courts to move proceedings off-site when necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Those are usually very long trials, and they can go for weeks.,” she said. “Judge Wilson usually has about three of those cases a year. It’s great it was settled before we had to bring in a jury…
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