It's a Horned Frog World

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Companies that told deadly lies deserve no special protection

Texas is ranked fifth in the nation in deaths related to asbestos.
Two fatal diseases are linked to asbestos exposure, asbestosis and mesothelioma. The cases each year are increasing and scientists are expecting them to peak in 2016, when the people exposed to asbestos in the 1970s, when it was most heavily used, will succumb to the diseases.
People all over the country die from these diseases, but Texas legislators limit Texans’ right to sue asbestos companies for damages. Lying to workers and withholding critical health information from customers, communities and federal health officials was standard asbestos company practice. The Texas legislature has limited the number of people who can sue asbestos companies to only the gravely ill.
All people who have these fatal diseases deserve the right to seek compensation from the companies that exposured them to asbestos.

Corrine Young


  • Trust me, I'm no fan of the mindless tort reforms that have passed in Texas and are proposed on the national level. But there have been abuses in asbestos cases. Skip Hollandsworth wrote a powerful article about the problem for Texas Monthly in the late 1990s. "Victims" were coached on what produces they say they used decades ago, etc. People who had the two conditions you mentioned were in danger of receiving little compensation because their claims were so diluted by people who whose exposure to asbestos was minimal and who had suffered no actual harm.

    Former vice presidential candidate John Edwards came up with some interesting ideas about curbing medical malpractice suits that might be applied to asbestos liability. Again, I don't think there should be any special protections for companies that lie (that's contempt) in trials or that concealed the danger of products they use or produce. I do not support arbitrary caps on pain and suffering. I just want to make sure the legal system really helps those who have been harmed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:08 PM  

  • And then you have lawyers, like the one in Dallas whose home is dubbed "The house that asbestos built" because he has gotten filthy rich off the whole thing. There has to be a happy middle ground in all of this. In the end, the whole of society pays the cost for some of the outlandish judgements awarded to claimants in these cases.

    Jennifer Nagorka on the page? Wow! I am impressed!

    Tammy Swofford

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:19 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Tom in Dallas, at 1:20 PM  

  • On so-called tort reform, there is no trade-off. Potential plaintiffs get nothing in return for giving up the right to punitive damages. Put another way, the price of killing, maiming and injurying the people of Texas is now an acceptable cost of doing business. A comforting thought for the people of Midlothian,Orange, Beaumont, Pasadena, Clear Lake City,etc. no doubt.

    I think it is worth pointing out that so-called trivial and nuisance law suits are no where nearly as thick on the ground as bidness would have us believe.

    Perhaps some people are coached. I remember when Fina was fighting having to buy the houses of people living near it's Beaumont refinery. The company claimed that one of the home-owners had taught himself to throw up on command. That may have been true, but it did not mean that Fina was not throwing a lot of terrible stuff into the air.

    If people were coached on what products to say they were using, there must surely mean that those products were on the market and were dangerous to consumers.

    It seems to me that plaintiffs' lawyers are doing something that federal regulators should be doing. If the regulators were to do what they were created to do, the injured would get more of the settlement.

    The problem with that solution is that the federal government does not attract the top lawyers. IRS and SEC do, but only when they are young and inexperienced. As soon as they learn their business, they go to the private side.

    By Blogger Tom in Dallas, at 1:23 PM  

  • Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

    I have a mesothelioma attorney texas site/blog. It pretty much covers mesothelioma attorney texas related stuff.

    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:37 AM  

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