Congressman calls out asbestos fraud in House hearing

Michael P. Tremoglie Sep. 13, 2011, 6:00am


The practice of making duplicate claims from asbestos tort and trust systems was hammered by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) during a House subcommittee hearing Friday.

Franks said that asbestos litigation has long been - and continues to be - rife with deception and exploitation, negatively effecting asbestos victims, the legal system and the employment of American workers.

He noted that it has been five years since Congress provided oversight of asbestos litigation. At the time, widespread fraud in mass asbestos screenings was uncovered.

"This massive fraud turned the worst occupational health disaster in U.S. history into one of the country's greatest scandals," Franks said. "Yet despite observers report that the worst abuses of the tort system continue to be central features of asbestos litigation today.

"For instance, according to reports, a new generation of diagnosing doctors has emerged to provide questionable evaluations of asbestos claimants, filling the void left, as physicians, subjected to congressional scrutiny in the mid-2000s, shuttered their asbestos practices."

Franks went on to say that plaintiffs' counsels were abusing state laws in order to find favorable forums for their cases. Trial lawyers are also "aggressively pursuing novel legal theories well outside the bounds of traditional tort law in order to bring cases against solvent firms only tenuously connected to their clients," he said.

Read the complete story at Legal Newsline.

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