Judge Orders Asbestos Fraudsters to Pay Triple Damages in Landmark RICO Case
A federal judge in West Virginia has ordered two Pittsburgh-based personal injury lawyers and a discredited radiologist to pay triple damages, or roughly $1.3 million, in a landmark case that found them liable for concocting fraudulent asbestos lawsuits.
As reported by the West Virginia Record, U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp issued a series of rulings in Wheeling yesterday in CSX Transportation’s lawsuit, brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), against former law partners Robert Peirce and Louis Raimond, and radiologist Ray Harron.
Judge Stamp denied the defendants’ motions for judgment as a matter of law or, in the alternative, for a new trial and granted CSX’s motion to triple, pursuant to RICO, the original jury award of nearly $430,000.
“Defendants’ arguments that this Court should deny this motion as it would be premature to amend the judgment prior to this Court ruling on the issues contained in their post-judgment motions are moot,” the judge wrote.
“This Court has since denied the defendants’ motions as to those issues and thus, it would not be premature to now amend the judgment.
“Further, the defendants’ argument concerning CSX’s statements during trial that this case was not about the money have no bearing on the fact that based on the above-cited law, CSX is entitled to treble damages.”
Judge Stamp deferred a ruling on CSX’s request that the defendants also pay its more than $10 million in legal bills until defendants exhaust their appeals.
Regardless of whether the fraudsters are obliged to cough up another $10 million or not, they’ve suffered humiliating exposure that should lead relevant bar associations to initiate disbarment proceedings. State and federal prosecutors also should investigate similar frauds that are plainly widespread throughout the asbestos lawsuit industry.
In any case, CSX’s successful turning of the tables on these unscrupulous parasites sets out a RICO roadmap for other frequently targeted companies to punish those who routinely defraud our civil courts.