Friable Thoughts

Friday, May 20, 2005

Senator Unclear on the Concept

Where oh where is John Edwards when you need him? While I did not vote for the VP candidate, he made a much better advocate for the trial lawyers on asbestos reform than his replacement, Illinois senator Dick Durbin.

Even with the judge fight distracting from the markup of Specter's bill, Senator Durbin still manages to make a goof out of himself. Seems he's not too pleased that the fund caps attorneys' fees at 5%. He looked at the RAND study that showed more than half the money spent on asbestos litigation went to attorneys and figured that 5% was too low.

Now, as a lawyer, I'm not against lawyers getting paid but the whole point of the trust fund is to take the lawyers out of the equation so that insurers and manufacturers don't pay out as much as they do now but the people truly injured get paid more and sooner than they do now. Of course, it may be impossible to freeze out the lawyers but that is another issue. Though, if you cap fees at 5%, it would be a pretty power disincentive to get involved.

Bottom line, lawyers stand at the end of the sympathy line in asbestos litigation reform in DC and rightly so regardless of the fact that so many of us are stand up folks. We aren't dying. We aren't going bankrupt. We can find another line of work even if we don't really want to.


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