Two-dozen wrongful death suits against Bristol-Myers Squibb Company were recently revived after a New Jersey federal judge ruled that a more lenient federal statute of limitations law should be applied to the cases. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical giant, alleging the company failed to warn its neighbors about contaminated air and soil. However, the cases were dismissed in February 2013 after U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson said the state law applied and under New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act the lawsuits must be filed within two years after the death occurs. In September, 2013, U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Alpert ruled that federal law preempts a state law and the lawsuits have been reinstated. The lawsuits are filed in the in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey under Dyshelle Harris v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. et al., case number 3:11-cv-06004.
The Statute of Limitations is a law which sets forth the period after an event during which a lawsuit must be filed. If a plaintiff (the person who is bringing the suit) fails to file the lawsuit within the prescribed period of time, then they will likely be barred from pursuing the case further. The Statute of Limitations for a personal injury lawsuit for adults is within 2 years from the date the injury occurred and for minors, within 2 years of the person’s 18th birthday. For wrongful death claims, a lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the decedent’s death.
Mallon & Tranger is a New Jersey personal injury law firm that offers experienced legal representation in all types of wrongful death and personal injury claims. Please contact us online or call us at 732-702-0333. We handle all personal injury cases on a contingency-fee basis – you do not pay costs or fees unless we successfully achieve a settlement for you.