Friable Thoughts

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

153 asbestos and silicosis suits filed in Madison County

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water...more asbestos and silicosis cases get filed in Madison County. It was probably foolish to think they would all go away but this mass filing indicates that the Texas lawyers must still find something to like about the Madison County courts. At least it appears that their clients have some connection to the state.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Asbestos Fund Bars 9 Doctors

And I thought this would be a slow week with the John Roberts confirmation hearings keeping the Senate Judiciary Committee away from the trust fund bill. Now, the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust has refused to pay claims that go through certain doctors or X-ray screening companies, presumably because they are fraudulent or invalid. According to the trust fund site, claims from the following doctors are blacklisted:

Dr. James Ballard
Dr. Kevin Cooper
Dr. Todd Coulter
Dr. Andrew Harron
Dr. Ray Harron
Dr. Glynn Hilbun
Dr. Barry Levy
Dr. George Martindale
Dr. W. Allen Oaks

Also, so are the following X-ray screening companies:

N&M, Inc.
Healthscreen, Inc. (Jackson, Mississippi)
RTS, Inc. (Mobile, Alabama)

I wonder if this list will get bigger and if the Manville Trust can/will drop the dime on other doctors and perhaps, the plaintiff's lawyers that represent the claimants.

US asbestos fund would quickly go broke: study

The American Legislative Exchange Council has sponsored a study that concludes the asbestos trust fund would go belly up within three years. This study assumes that more cancer sufferers would seek compensation from the fund than would normally sue. It challenges the Congressional Budget Office assumption that cancer sufferers would sue in the same proportion as those filing lawsuits currently.

I don't know how well that assumption holds water, given the ease which plaintiff's lawyers currently entertain cancer cases. However, if medical criteria laws in the states do effectively bar disputed asbestosis cases, the flood of cancer claims just might happen anyway.

Of course, the Senate could amend the trust fund bill on the floor to directly address this concern. If the Democrats blink, then it's an indication that this study just might have a point.

ERS: Asbestosis Death in U.S. Stable at 1,000 a Year for Next Decade

This study suggests that we'll have about 1000 asbestosis deaths a year for the next 10-15 years. This excludes mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung and other cancer. So, I'm curious as to what's wrong with the other 90,000 asbestos cases that get filed every year?

Monday, September 12, 2005

U.S. Senate panel OKs asbestos subpoena power

So now the defendant companies will testify in front of the Judiciary Committee. Say hello to Judge Roberts on the way in.

I wonder if the companies can invoke some sort of attorney-client privilege? Or, if they happen to be public, point to their SEC filings? Of course, they could just say they really don't know and declare bankruptcy. That would sure throw a wrench in the works.