"West Virginia needs to enact reforms that will stem the tidal wave of asbestos and silica mass litigation and ensure that injured individuals are diagnosed based on established medical criteria and by an attending physician.These reforms will help to unclog the system for those who are truly impaired or injured."

Commentary by Steve Cohen, executive director of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse,
West Virginia Record, January 5, 2007.

Lawyer Says He and Colleagues Destroyed Evidence on Fen-Phen Funds

"One of three lawyers accused of plundering Kentucky's $200 million fen-phen settlement said he and his colleagues "tore up or burned" notes showing how much they paid themselves and their clients. Depositions obtained by The Courier-Journal include Lexington attorney Melbourne Mills Jr.'s description of a meeting that he said he and lawyers William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr., also of Lexington, held at Gallion's house in 2001 to divvy up an extra $10 million beyond what they'd already paid themselves from the settlement. "Did Mr. Gallion or anyone else talk about discussing that information with anybody else?" Mills was asked by attorney Angela Ford, who now represents the three lawyers' former clients. "We all agreed to keep it a secret," Mills said. "I think we either tore up or burned the pages it was written on." Ford alleges that Mills' description is a "dramatic indication of a cover-up." Associated Press, January 23, 2007. Read More »

Plaintiffs' Team Takes Hit on Asbestos

"In the latest setback for plaintiffs' attorneys involved in large-scale asbestos litigation, an Ohio state court judge barred a California law firm from appearing in his court after finding that its lawyers had lied and obstructed the discovery process in a case involving an asbestos claim. In a harshly worded opinion issued late Thursday, Judge Harry Hanna listed more than a dozen instances where attorneys from the Novato, Calif., law firm Brayton Purcell LLP either lied to the court, intentionally withheld key discovery materials, or distorted the degree of asbestos exposure alleged." Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required), January 20, 2007. Read More »

Coalition Continues Fight for Tort Reform

"One year ago, a group of business interests called West Virginians for Fairness asked lawmakers to make some changes in how asbestos- and silica-based personal injury lawsuits could be pursued. The group didn't get very far. The 2006 legislation never even got out of committee in the House of Delegates, and the Senate put it back in committee before voting on it. Not to be deterred, however, West Virginians for Fairness members are trying again this year. Randy Cox, a lawyer and spokesman for the group, said he believes attitudes have changed about this kind of civil justice reform since last year." State Journal, January 18, 2007. Read More »

Heart surgeon faces criminal charges

"Alex Zakharia, 68, a Miami-Dade heart surgeon for more than 30 years, is facing criminal charges in Detroit for perjury and fraud. The doctor was indicted by a federal grand jury, which alleged that he exaggerated his qualifications about his experience doing open-heart surgery while giving a deposition for the plaintiff in a Michigan malpractice case, in which the federal government was the defense." Miami Herald, January 9, 2007. Read More »


Legislative Update

The West Virginia Senate is considering legislation that would require plaintiffs to meet established medical criteria relating to asbestos or silica exposure to legitimize a lawsuit. The bill would also require a plaintiff to establish a doctor-patient relationship with the physician offering the diagnosis.


The Stats

$96: Cost of the U.S. tort system to each individual in 1950, compared to $880 in 2005. "2006 Update on U.S. Tort Cost Trends," Tillinghast Towers Perrin, December 13, 2006.

$10,000: Average fee amount medical experts are paid to regularly testify that mold causes diseases such as lung cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2006.

Take Action

Stop dangerous and irresponsible personal injury lawyer advertising!

Sick of Lawsuits needs your help. Send a letter TODAY urging the Federal Trade Commission to pursue stricter guidelines on personal injury lawyer advertising that uses misleading, inflammatory and baseless claims to scare consumers. Tell them you’re not going to stand for personal injury lawyers’ scare tactics.

Join the Fight
Contact Your Legislator
Spread the Word
Recruit a Friend