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Commentary

What Did Those Asbestos X-Rays Really Show?
Lester Brickman, PointofLaw.com, 2-2-06

Brickman is a law professor at Cardozo Law School in New York, and a nationally recognized tort law scholar. He has also been paying very close attention to the explosion of asbestos-liability litigation in recent years, and has come to the disturbing conclusion that fraud may lie at the heart of much of it.

In the mid 1980s, court decisions dramatically enlarged insurance companies' liability for asbestos-related injury. At the same time, defendants and their insurers began to pay asbestos claims without demanding much in the way of proof of injury or liability. Plaintiffs' lawyers responded opportunistically.
As a consequence, asbestos litigation, which had previously focused on malignancies and other debilitating injuries, shifted radically from the traditional model of an injured person seeking a lawyer to an entrepreneurial model. Lawyers spent millions to sponsor mass screenings of upwards of 750,000 industrial and construction workers. Of the 850,000 asbestos claimants that have so far brought suit against over 8,400 different defendants, about 600,000 have been recruited by these mass screenings.

Please read Professor Brickmanís entire posting. Asbestos litigation has become a black mark on the nationís legal system, and it deserves more attention than it has yet received.



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