Skip to comments.WSJ: Silicosis Scandal - Keeping abreast of the market: thousands may have been falsely diagnosed
Posted on 08/12/2005 5:47:45 AM PDT by OESY
Congratulations to... Republicans Joe Barton and Ed Whitfield, who... opened a probe into the nation's asbestos and silicosis claims. Their decision to investigate the people responsible for recruiting and falsely diagnosing tens of thousands of plaintiffs is a major step toward exposing this fraud.
Credit for alerting the Congressmen to this issue goes to Texas federal Judge Janis Graham Jack, who earlier this summer surprised the tort bar by publicly excoriating 10,000 silicosis claims in front of her court. Messrs. Barton and Whitfield have now followed up with letters to the doctors and screening companies that helped gin up these suits, demanding records and information related to their diagnoses and practices.
"We are deeply troubled that thousands of men and women . . . may have been treated to perfunctory diagnoses so some medical providers could profit from the litigation process," their letters read....
Silicosis is a disease caused by exposure to silica that has been in decline for decades, yet in recent years trial lawyers have flooded courts with tens of thousands of bogus claims.... [T]he vast majority of plaintiffs were recruited by only a few screening companies... and were diagnosed by the same handful of for-hire doctors. Most of this happened at the direction of law firms that pump up the numbers of plaintiffs to bully companies into million-dollar settlements.
Corporate defendants have known about this corrupt claim-generating machinery for years, because it's the same apparatus (staffed by the same people) that generated counterfeit asbestos claims. And therein lies another benefit of a Congressional investigation: Getting to the bottom of the silicosis racket also reopens the door to tackling the asbestos blob.
Dozens of companies have been pushed into bankruptcy court, and the Senate is debating whether to create a huge new trust fund to pay asbestos claims....
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Seriously, I was on a temp assignment for a downtown DC law firm back in 98' with a bunch of others handling heaps of affidavits of prospective asbestos victims for one of those huge class-action asbestos suits.
Some made for some interesting reading, the co-plantiffs ranged from men long dead to thirty-somethings, most however, could not point to any specific injury or illness from asbestos exposure, indeed, the exposure for most consisted of trivial things like the use of arc-welding rods that might or might not have had asbestos coatings. Say what?
Well, I guess we should all take pride in the number of lawyers who can now buy their own sports franchises.
Trial lawyers at their finest.....Tort Reform NOW
I guess the impetus is that the lawyers have doctors to blame for the flood of litigation?
Well, if it works, that's fine with me. But it's might ironic that the judge saves most of her ire for the "expert witnesses" WHO ARE NOT OFFICERS OF THE COURT. Nobody can rip anybody off in a courtroom without a gang of lawyers who are licensed to do so...but, if blaming the doctors who are cashing in solves this problem...OK.
Gee, who woulda thought? You subsidize something and suddenly there's more if.
Well, maybe in the previous Administration....
Simply amazing isn't it! Follow the money has real meaning to those who follow the money. I made it a solemn rule to never ever do anything for money. For principle, for rightness, for any of a number of reasons, but never be driven by compensation.