Walter Olson of the Manhattan Institute has taken note in the past of the work of Cardozo law professor Lester Brickman on mass screenings used by trial lawyers to “identify” victims of asbestosis, silicosis and similar ailments. At Point of Law today, Olson directs us to a new paper from Brickman, “The Use of Litigation Screenings in Mass Torts: A Formula for Fraud?” From the abstract:
By my count, approximately 1,500,000 potential litigants have been screened in the asbestos, silica, fen-phen (diet drugs), silicone breast implant, and welding fume litigations. Litigation doctors found that approximately 1,000,000 of those screened had the requisite condition that could qualify for compensation, such as asbestosis, silicosis, moderate mitral or mild aortic value regurgitation or a neurological disorder. I further estimate that lawyers have spent at least $500 million and as much as $1 billion to conduct these litigation screenings, paying litigation doctors and screening companies well in excess of $250 million, and obtaining contingency fees well in excess of $13 billion.
On the basis of the evidence I review in this article, I conclude that approximately 900,000 of the 1,000,000 claims generated were based on “diagnoses” of the type that U.S. District Court Judge Janis Jack, in the silica MDL, found were “manufactured for money.”
And what do you know? The Google ads associated with the paper kick up items like:
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