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January 13, 2014

Judge Finds Discovery Abuse by Lawyers

On Friday, a federal bankruptcy judge cut an asbestos award to $125 million after finding lawyers in the case coached their clients to “forget” certain facts that would increase the defendant’s liability and to change their stories in other lawsuits.

“While the judge declined to comment on the legality of those tactics, his findings appear to support the fraud claims Garlock parent EnPro Industries made against several law firms yesterday, “writes Dan Fisher in Forbes. “In those lawsuits, filed under seal to comply with the judge’s blanket confidentiality order covering plaintiff medical records, EnPro accuses the lawyers of ‘double-dipping’ by suing Garlock and then making conflicting claims with trusts set up to administer claims against bankrupt companies.”

ILR president Lisa Rickard released a statement calling for additional action from state and federal legislatures to rein in asbestos litigation abuse. “Plaintiffs’ lawyers are manipulating and withholding evidence, and Judge Hodges recognizes that this is ‘a regular practice by many plaintiffs’ firms.”

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