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August 6, 2018

Attorney: Asbestos Litigation Reform Needed Even After Silver Sentencing

Though the seven-year prison sentence of former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should help discourage abuse in the asbestos litigation arena, a Chicago-based attorney told Legal Newsline that there are still “strong financial incentives to game the system” that must be addressed through reform.

Silver was found guilty for having an illegal relationship with two asbestos plaintiffs’ firms that earned him $5 million in kickbacks and bribes. In the alleged scheme, Silver used his office to issue state grants to an asbestos doctor, who then referred patients to law firms that paid Silver referral fees. David C. Christian of David Christian Attorneys LLC said that those incentives will remain until the “asbestos compensation system becomes transparent across the country.”

Christian said the New York Consolidated Asbestos Litigation court has fostered “an unhealthy system” after changing some rules to allow for punitive damages. Christian said these rules have created a system “that bankrupts defendants and exhausts insurance coverage so that compensation may not be available to legitimate claimants.”

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