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TLR News Clips

Forbes, April 8, 2015

New York’s special court system for hearing asbestos cases will be on trial Thursday as defense lawyers make their case for reforms in the wake of former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s indictment on allegations he accepted millions of dollars in kickbacks from one of the most prominent asbestos plaintiff firms in the state.

Washington Examiner, April 6, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) – The asbestos trust claims act recently signed into law is good for business in West Virginia, according to several attorneys who played key roles in crafting the legislation.

Legal Newsline, April 1, 2015

NEW YORK CITY (Legal Newsline) – Defendants in what has been described as the most plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction in the country have asked its new judge to put a stop to things in order to amend the case management order that governs it.

Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2015

It has been more than 15 years since former Supreme Court Justice David Souter referred to asbestos litigation as an “elephantine mass,” the most massive of mass torts in America for decades. Though the U.S. epidemiological peak for mesothelioma—the incurable cancer caused by significant inhalation of asbestos fibers—came and went in the early 1990s, roughly 2,000-3,000 new claims for compensation are filed each year.

Yet recent events have raised serious questions about personal-injury law firms’ aggressive recruitment of asbestos clients and the legitimacy of the claims they file. In 2012, a jury found two Pittsburgh-based plaintiffs’ lawyers liable for fraud in a multimillion-dollar civil racketeering case brought against them by CSX Transportation. The company had alleged that the lawyers had worked with a radiologist to falsify chest X-rays to pursue asbestos-related claims against CSX. (The lawyers appealed, but then settled without admitting wrongdoing.)

Huffington Post, April 1, 2015

For a while it was looking like a heavyweight showdown of sorts, at least as civil litigation panel discussions go, being billed as the "Battle in the Big Apple," featuring a name attorney from the Weitz & Luxenberg firm at the apex of New York's wildest political scandal in years.

Legal Newsline, March 31, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Legal Newsline) – In a 2013 deposition, prominent asbestos plaintiffs attorney Joseph Belluck tried to explain the difference between intending to file a claim with a bankruptcy trust on behalf of a client, and merely anticipating the filing of a claim.

Legal Newsline, March 30, 2015

PITTSBURGH (Legal Newsline) – Fallout from a 2014 landmark ruling has led to Pittsburgh Corning’s insurer asking a bankruptcy court for relief from an earlier decision because, it claims, asbestos plaintiffs attorneys have been engaging in fraud.

Forbes, March 27, 2015

An insurer that was required to help fund the $3 billion bankruptcy of Pittsburgh Corning GLW +1.19% has filed court papers seeking the case to be reopened, saying “pervasive fraudulent conduct” by asbestos plaintiff lawyers tainted the proceedings.

Legal Newsline, March 25, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Legal Newsline) – Attorneys at his firm were focused solely on proving their asbestos clients were harmed by solvent companies while delaying the filing of claims against bankrupt ones until the resolution of their lawsuits, Philadelphia attorney Benjamin Shein said in 2013.

Forbes, March 25, 2015

In a quiet bankruptcy court in Charlotte, N.C., closed to all but court personnel and people who’d signed strict confidentiality orders, attorney Garland Cassada laid out the inner workings of one of the longest-running and most lucrative schemes in the American litigation business.

The Monitor, March 23, 2015

Texas has been on the front lines in the battle against the abuse of our lawsuit system and ensuring that it is used for justice, not greed.

SE Texas Record, March 17, 2015

Several years ago, U.S. District Judge Janis Jack discovered that many plaintiff asbestos and silica lawyers were “manufacturing lawsuits for money.” Once again, the mass tort lawyers who travel the gold road of asbestos litigation have been revealed by a federal judge as manipulating litigation for self-enrichment, without regard for the integrity of our civil justice system.

Bloomberg Business, March 18, 2015

For better or worse, the lawsuit-finance market continues to grow. Hedge funds and others speculating on litigation are making more and larger bets. Some corporate lobbyists warn that the new financial engineering encourages wasteful courtroom warfare, but investor demand for fat returns—and big law firms' appetite for business—guarantee the spread of litigation finance.

Legal Newsline, March 19, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) – West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed Senate Bill 411, also known as the Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act and the Asbestos and Silica Claims Priorities Act.

Houston Chronicle, March 9, 2015

It is the kind of argument that could only be dreamed up by a lawyer both creative and desperate.

Legal Newsline, March 13, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Legal Newsline) – The largest asbestos verdict ever delivered against Garlock Sealing Technologies – $24 million – happened because the company wasn’t allowed to show evidence that the plaintiff was exposed to the product Unibestos, the company claimed.

The Southeast Texas Record, March 10, 2015

Lawyers for Provost Umphrey and other asbestos firms might see their case loads lightened very soon, as justices shut down a direct appeal to the Texas Supreme Court on Friday, clearing the way for potentially thousands of asbestos cases to be tossed out.

New York Post, March 15, 2015

Weitz & Luxenberg, the law firm accused of exploiting its connection to Sheldon Silver in New York City’s asbestos court, has come under fire in another lucrative arena — multibillion-dollar bankruptcy trusts.

SE Texas Record, March 4, 2015

The first trial to arise from the thousands of lawsuits filed after a hailstorm struck McAllen three years ago ended in a loss for the Houston-based Mostyn Law Firm on Monday evening.

Institute for Legal Reform, March 3, 2015

Retired Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Sherry Klein Heitler is being succeeded by Justice Peter H. Moulton as federal prosecutors continue their probe into whether her court gave “red-carpet treatment” to civil-asbestos related cases connected to former Assembly Sheldon Silver’s federal corruption case.

Institute for Legal Reform, March 2, 2015

On Friday, the West Virginia Senate unanimously passed the Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act and the Asbestos and Silica Claims Priorities Act. The bill sets out standards and procedures for the handling of certain asbestos and silica claims and, importantly, requires the disclosure of any existing or potential asbestos bankruptcy trust claims.

Madison Record, February 26, 2015

Two years ago in federal bankruptcy court, the Houston law firm of Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas moved for summary judgment against Garlock Sealing Technologies, which had accused the firm of making fraudulently inconsistent claims about the origin of a client’s mesothelioma.

Institute for Legal Reform, February 27, 2015

This morning, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing commemorating the tenth anniversary of the passage of the Class Action Fairness Act. This measure, largely known by its acronym, CAFA, does not make for easy reading—civil procedure rarely does. But behind the dense language were far-reaching reforms meant to curb a very real problem—abusive class action lawsuits filed in trial lawyer-friendly state courts. 

The West Virginia Record, January 27, 2015

CHARLESTON – As a small business owner, I pay close attention to the costs associated with running my business.

Buffalo News, February 21, 2015

News that former speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver has been indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption and conspiracy charges has spurred a renewed sense of optimism for supporters of common-sense lawsuit reform.

Washington Examiner, February 25, 2015

When federal authorities arrested Sheldon Silver in January, journalists covering the story focused mainly on the bribery and public corruption charges against the former New York Assembly Speaker and the Empire State's second-most powerful Democrat.

Legal Newsline, February 25, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (Legal Newsline) – During its effort to prove asbestos plaintiffs attorneys had been gaming the system to earn higher verdicts and settlements, Garlock Sealing Technologies introduced evidence of three Philadelphia settlements it claimed were inflated.

Wall Street Journal, February 17, 2015

The fallout continues from what is arguably the greatest legal fraud in history—the case against Chevron for allegedly polluting the Ecuador jungle. On Monday Chevron announced it has reached a settlement with James Russell DeLeon, a leading funder of the fraudulent lawsuit.

Legal Newsline, February 23, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Legal Newsline) – The asbestos plaintiffs firms with the highest settlement averages in claims against Garlock Sealing Technologies achieved that by engaging in discovery abuse in the post-bankruptcy era of the litigation, a law professor told a bankruptcy court during the company’s proceeding.

SE Texas Record, February 18, 2015

Plaintiffs who file automobile collision lawsuits in Texas can now be painted with contributory negligence assertions if the evidence shows they were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the wreck.