Mass Tort Follow-Up

Regular readers will remember that several weeks ago I wrote about the opinion by Judge Jack in a group of silicosis cases pending in Texas.

At the time I wrote “this story will not and should not die.” Well, it has not died. The business community has grabbed this bull by the horns and intends to ride it until it is dead, buried, and fully decomposed. For but one example, read this story in Business Week Online.

Here is a quote from the article: “Expensive investigations into the legitimacy of medical diagnoses, which led to the Jack opinion in In Re: Silica Products Liability Litigation, are just the beginning. Corporate complaints about mass tort fraud have spurred criminal convictions, ongoing criminal probes in three states, and an inquiry by the House Energy & Commerce Committee. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also begun building a database that will be used to identify relationships among screening companies, doctors, plaintiffs’ law firms, and claimants, and keep an eye out for repeat plaintiffs. ‘We are at a turning point,’ says Lisa A. Rickard, president of the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform. ‘The business model that the plaintiff bar has been using in mass torts is now coming into question and under scrutiny not only by judges but by prosecutors.'”