"Since federal Judge Janis Graham Jack blew the whistle on fraudulent silicosis suits last year, the court system as a whole has been moving to expose the corruption that has underpinned both asbestos and silicosis litigation. It’s slow work, but the results are encouraging &. The recent silicosis litigation was, after all, simply the latest product of a group of lawyers, doctors and screening companies that first perfected their practices on asbestos. Whatever is rotten in silicosis is even far more decomposed in asbestos."

Editorial, Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2006


A New Fear About Bird Flu

"An epidemic of asbestos lawsuits has felled dozens of U.S. companies and weakened hundreds more over the decades. Now businesses’ worst legal malady could help spread a completely new kind of illness: avian flu. Among the outfits struggling to fend off asbestos suits are industrial safety companies, which make cheap, disposable, polypropylene masks. Such ‘respirators’ could play an essential role in containing any outbreak, but in the U.S., they are in ominously short supply." BusinessWeek, April 12, 2006 Read More »

The Great Asbestos Scam

"The great asbestos bankruptcy scam is beginning to unravel. For 30 years, judges have sat by as the tort bar flooded courts with phony suits, dragging some 75 companies into Chapter 11. Bankruptcy judges have proved particularly resistant to investigating swindles, fearful of the months such probes would add to already complex proceedings. Yet the past few years have witnessed a reversal &. Its cause was bolstered last June when a Texas federal judge, Janis Graham Jack, issued a blistering opinion showing that many law firms responsible for the asbestos mess had subsequently ‘manufactured’ silicosis suits ’for money.’ Under pressure, judges have started allowing some digging into their cases." Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2006 Read More »

Some Docs Thrive on Malpractice Litigation

"Although the medical community contains the most vocal critics of the malpractice system, some of its members actually benefit from lawsuits &. A small share of doctors profit by providing expert testimony in malpractice trials &. One of the biggest national brokers for expert medical testimony Berkeley, Calif.-based American Medical Forensic Specialists Inc. – said it has a nationwide network of about 7,500 expert doctors. They bill hourly rates of $400 to $500, depending on the type of doctor needed. ‘There are doctors who are becoming very wealthy as part of the current system because they provide expert testimony on a regular basis,’ Dr. Kopen said." The Times-Tribune, April 9, 2006 Read More »

 

West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA) marked April Fool’s Day with pointing out that personal injury lawyer ads may be easy to poke fun at, but they can also have dangerous consequences. In an commentary in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch, WV CALA spokesperson Steve Cohen noted, "With April Fools’ Day upon us, the often quoted phrase comes to mind: ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’ While we can try to have a sense of humor about the barrage of advertising from the personal injury lawsuit industry, some of these ads are out of control."

San Diego Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse highlighted another April event, Tax Day, with an op-ed in the San Diego Business Journal on one tax that should immediately be cut – the $886 tax we all pay for lawsuit abuse. Executive Director Andy Kotner noted, "The lawsuit tax is the cost built into the price we all pay for goods and services. It's the price manufacturers and retailers incur when they pay for liability insurance, or when they pay out settlements and jury awards. These costs are simply passed on to all of us in the form of higher prices."

The Stats

50: Ranking of West Virginia among all states for fairness in its courts. For the third year in a row Delaware came in at number one as being the state with the best balance and fairness in its legal system. Harris Interactive, March 20, 2006

One in eight: Number of OB-GYNs in Oklahoma who have retired early, left the state or stopped delivering babies in the past two years. The Oklahoman, March 31, 2006

55: Percentage of doctors in Oklahoma who have or would discourage new colleagues from practicing medicine in the state due to the current lawsuit climate. The Oklahoman, March 31, 2006

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