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April 7, 2005

Chamber Calls for Investigation of Asbestos Doctors and Lawyers Cites New Evidence of ?Substantial and Systematic Fraud?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue has asked the Justice Department to investigate compelling new evidence of fraud that has emerged in asbestos and silica litigation.

“Considerable evidence has come to light indicating the existence of substantial and systematic fraud in asbestos litigation,” Donohue wrote in a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. “I request that the Department of Justice immediately open a formal investigation into the conduct of lawyers, doctors and others who are responsible for the explosion in meritless and abusive asbestos claims across the country in recent years.”

A number of developments underscore the need for a Justice Department investigation, according to the Chamber, including recent testimony in Texas federal court in related silica litigation in which several diagnosing doctors openly disclaimed their prior findings.

A recent study of asbestos claims, by researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in which an independent review of X-rays submitted as evidence in the claims revealed a discrepancy rate of greater than 90 percent, was also cited by Donohue.

This and other evidence of fraud in asbestos litigation is an issue of national importance because the litigation has already involved the payment of more than $70 billion in judgments or settlements and driven more than 70 companies into bankruptcy.

“We have never had such strong evidence of rampant fraud driving the asbestos litigation,” Donohue said. “It’s time for the Justice Department to get to the bottom of it.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

Click Here to read the Letter and Memo

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