Dr. Barry Castleman is back, playing courtroom asbestos “expert” for the benefit of plaintiff’s lawyers.
This time, it’s in the case of John Crane and Crane Co., defending themselves against claims they are responsible for the death of Tennessean Tom King, Sr. in Madison County.
To the uninitiated, Dr. Castleman appears to offer an objective opinion. To veteran asbestos defense counsel cross-examining him, it’s anything but.
What might defense lawyers be thinking when such an alleged expert is on the stand?
“Your Honor, we object to plaintiff counsel’s use of Dr. X as an alleged expert witness in an asbestos trial. In previous court appearances, Dr X has demonstrated his determination to conceal, distort, and fabricate aspects of the history of asbestos manufacturing and usage.
“Dr. X has made a habit of leaving out inconvenient facts and tailoring others to fit his narrative of amoral manufacturers and suppliers. He betrays a clear bias against the makers and sellers of asbestos and asbestos-containing products, painting a historically inaccurate portrait of their alleged disregard for the safety of employees and customers.
“Dr. X has admitted that he often does not read exculpatory material supplied to him and plaintiff counsel by defendants he is preparing to testify against. He appears indifferent to any information that might contradict his preconceived notions of corporate culpability.
“Ironically, Dr. X has made a regular practice of accusing deceased company officials of conspiring to suppress information that actually had been made public in documents he did not read. He, himself, however, has no qualms about trying to suppress information on behalf of plaintiffs and attorneys paying for his testimony – as he did on at least one occasion when writing to a medical researcher and advising him to resist subpoenas for medical records of alleged asbestos victims.
“Dr. X does not deny writing this letter. When shown the letter, he merely said, ‘I have no memory of writing this and I don’t recognize it.'
“He can’t give a yes-or-no answer when asked if he did something wrong? Is his memory that bad, or is his wrongfulness too frequent?
“Your honor, we suggest that Dr. X, instead of testifying on behalf of plaintiffs in asbestos trials, should prepare to testify in his own behalf in an effort to defend himself against possible charges of obstruction of justice and perjury.”