Court Cases Expose Questionable Ethics by Trial Lawyers in Asbestos Suits

Date: March 06, 2014

Related Content: Issues State Pennsylvania

Recent news
articles about an appeal of a mass tort on asbestos illnesses bring to light
that plaintiff’s law firms are suing multiple companies on behalf of single
individuals, then changing the evidence about what product caused the exposure
to fit the case at hand.   Rules for
asbestos bankruptcy litigation shroud discovery and allow for this abuse. 

The judge in the
Garlock Sealing Technologies case handed down scathing criticism of the trial
lawyers in the case, among them a Pennsylvania law firm.  He determined that more than half of the cases
brought against Garlock …

involved
misrepresentation of exposure evidence. It appears certain that more extensive
discovery would show more extensive abuse. But that is not necessary because
the startling pattern of misrepresentation that has been shown is sufficiently
persuasive.”

The
problem with limited discovery and questionable claims in asbestos litigation is
also hurting small Pennsylvania businesses.
 Even though trial
lawyers may have received large awards from federal bankruptcy trusts set up by
former asbestos manufacturers, they are filing additional suits against small
companies that may have sold products containing asbestos.  Some NFIB members have been sued, never
knowing that plumbing supplies or other items they sold decades ago might make
them vulnerable.  NFIB is advocating for
state legislation that forces plaintiff firms to reveal details about previous
cases and awards and shine a light on this racket.

Meanwhile, the Garlock firm, which is
emerging from bankruptcy, intends to use the recent ruling to bring a
racketeering case against the mass tort law firms.

Here is an article by the American Tort
Reform Association which highlights a television appearance by our Kevin Shivers
on Comcast Newsmakers on the topic. 

 

Related Content: Issues | State | Pennsylvania

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