It's interesting how two people or groups of people can have completely different reactions to the same situation. Consider the diametrically opposed perspectives on the legal climate in Madison County. The hellhole status we've deplored for years is considered positively paradisaical by profiteers.
Four years ago, a prominent asbestos attorney responded to our latest editorial lamenting the influx of out-of-state attorneys representing out-of-state plaintiffs and tried to convince us that a hellhole is a good thing, something to be proud of and thankful for.
Paul Napoli of Napoli Shkolnik argued that increased case filings are “anything but detrimental to the Court and the community. The community and its residents benefit from the increased business, jobs and tax revenues generated by new satellite law offices opening locally from large, out-of-state firms, as well as the increased business travel of out-of-state attorneys appearing before the Court,” he argued.
“Revenues are increased for the court system in terms of filing fees and for the community in terms of restaurants, hotels, other businesses and vendors (court reporters, shippers, document management, office supplies, to name but a few) serving the local and transient legal community and the court system,” Napoli continued. “Most of all, Madison County residents should be proud to know their community and Court system are helping those victims and their families whose malignancies, whether mesothelioma or lung cancer, will eventually lead to their death.”
If Napoli was right about the benefits to our community, it behooves us now to worry about what happens when those benefits begin to disappear.
The number of mesothelioma cases being attributed to direct or occupational exposure to asbestos is dwindling. While they're replaced, for the time being, with cases attributed to background exposure, recent court decisions are likely to undermine our hellhole appeal.
"Because of recent decisions with regard to jurisdiction, cases are now being filed in multiple ones across the country," Napoli told the Record.
It might be time to start putting our eggs in more than one basket.