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September 27, 2005

U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform Statement on Recent Influx of Asbestos and Silicosis Filings in Madison County

Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, issued the following statement in response to a recent influx of asbestos and silicosis litigation filed in Madison County, Illinois on September 27 and 28:

“In 2004, 477 asbestos lawsuits were filed in Madison County and to the best of our knowledge, very few silicosis suits have ever been filed there. If filing 139 asbestos cases and 35 silicosis cases in two days – that’s more than one-third of all 2004 asbestos filings – doesn’t raise red flags at the courthouse, I don’t know what will.

“Not surprisingly, these claims were filed by out-of-state lawyers. All 174 lawsuits were filed by a law firm based in Texas, where comprehensive legal reform legislation passed in 2003 and a federal judge recently recommended throwing out some 10,000 silicosis claims she suspected were fraudulent.

“We implore the judges assigned to these cases to closely scrutinize the merits of each case and dismiss any that do not belong in court.”

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