Challenging the Mass Screenings Use to Generate Bogus Asbestos Claims

By January 5, 2011Briefly Legal

The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has revived the railroad company CSX’s litigation against a Pittsburgh law firm for organizing fraudulent asbestos claims. The suit draws attention to one of the most egregious offenses of the asbestos lawsuit industry, the use of mass screenings to generate thousands of claims based on bogus medical diagnoses.

Legal Newsline on Dec. 30 reported, “Fraud case against Pittsburgh asbestos firm given new life”:

RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has reinstated a fraud case filed by CSX Transportation against a Pittsburgh law firm. In an opinion released Thursday, the Fourth Circuit overturned an order dismissing the company’s claims. A district judge ruled CSX had missed the statute of limitations when it filed the lawsuit, which alleges Peirce Raimond & Coulter conspired with a radiologist to fabricate asbestos claims….

CSX argued the statute of limitations did not begin running until the lawsuits it used as examples were found to be meritless.

“The district court, however, conflated the filing of the various underlying suits as, in and of themselves, putting CSX on notice of the fraudulent scheme underlying the RICO counts,” the opinion says.

The court’s opinion is here, and the NAM’s Manufacturing Law Center entry on the case is here.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and other business groups had filed an amicus brief (available here) in support of CSX in the case, CSX Transportation v. Gilkison. The brief from Shook, Hardy & Bacon detailed the scope of mass screening fraud, citing a good summary from Professor Lester Brickman:

Asbestos litigation has become a malignant enterprise which mostly consists of a massive client-recruitment effort that accounts for as much as 90 percent of all claims currently being generated, supported by baseless medical evidence which is not generated by good-faith medical practice, but rather is primarily a function of the compensation paid, and by claimant testimony scripted by lawyers to identify exposure to certain defendants’ products.

For more, see Daniel Fisher,, “CSX Fraud Suit Against Asbestos Lawyers Is Revived.” In addition, the Manhattan Institute’s Trial Lawyers, Inc. series covered mass screenings fraud and the suit against CSX in its “A Report on the Asbestos Litigation Industry, 2008.”

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