Last month, a federal judge delivered an important ruling in a North Carolina bankruptcy court, finding that plaintiffs’ lawyers were manipulating and withholding evidence in asbestos cases.
Writing in the Huffington Post, Sara Warner asks what’s next for the victims who played by the rules:
If the implications of Garlock hold up, and of course we’ll see on the appeal, it means that trusted attorneys have been leading clients to tell one story for one trust and another story for another trust and maybe a third story for an actual jury — and on and on. Much of this is under oath, so the implication is an almost assembly line approach to perjury.
Most of those trusts are paying only pennies on the dollar of actual liability. So a person honestly identifying the company causing harm gets minimal payment, while others might go trust-to-trust with claims. Who is looking out for the victims who played by the rules? What are the impacts on our over-crowded civil courts that have been hearing cases that would have been dismissed with proper evidence?
Companies have set aside nearly $30 billion to compensate legitimate victims of asbestos. The Garlock ruling will help ensure that the money is available to the people it is intended to help.