How do statutes of limitations work in talcum powder cancer claims?
For wrongful death claims, regardless of state, the statute of limitations is “triggered” on the date of the victim’s death. This means that the statute of limitations clock starts ticking on the date of the decedent’s passing as a result of ovarian mesothelioma or asbestos-related ovarian cancer.
In contrast, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims begins when the plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known, or “discovered,” that they were harmed. This could be the date of the plaintiff’s cancer diagnosis, the date she found out talcum powder may have contributed to her illness, or the date the manufacturer announces the product’s deficiency.
Many states also have a specific statute of repose for products liability actions, which is similar to, but enforced more strictly than, a statute of limitations.
Statutes of limitations can often be waived or extended in special circumstances, but statutes of repose definitively limit the time in which an action may be brought by creating a final deadline for a plaintiff to file suit.
For example, California’s consumer-friendly products liability laws do not specify a period of repose. Alternatively, in Florida, a products liability action is completely barred when more than 12 years have passed from the date the allegedly harmful product was purchased, no matter the date of when the victim discovered her harm or passed away according to Fla. Stat. § 95.031.
But, this statute of repose is “tolled,” or paused, for any period during which the manufacturer or its agents had “actual knowledge that the product was defective in the manner alleged by the claimant and took affirmative steps to conceal the defect.” Fla. Stat. § 95.031(d).