Asbestos Fraudsters Will Pay $7.3 Million to Settle CSX Transportation’s RICO Case against Them
ATRA Cites Settlement, Coming Garlock Revelations in Urging New Congress, State Legislatures to Pass Asbestos Claims Transparency Laws
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 6, 2014 – After having been found liable for civil fraud by a federal jury in late 2012, two Pittsburgh-based asbestos lawyers and the estate of their radiologist co-conspirator had pursued an appeal of that verdict up until today, when they filed a post-trial settlement agreement with CSX Transportation that obligates them to pay the railroad $7.3 million dollars.
“Recent oral arguments before a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit went very badly for the defendants,” reported American Tort Reform Association president Tiger Joyce. “Not surprisingly, the appellate judges didn’t seem at all receptive to their argument that the RICO statute can’t be applied to plaintiffs’ lawyers and expert witnesses who conspire to make fraudulent asbestos claims.”
Assuming they were likely to lose, the asbestos racketeers apparently decided to withdraw their appeal, pay the full judgment plus interest, and pay CSX a few million dollars less in attorneys’ fees than they could have been required to pay under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
“CSX deserves a great deal of credit for its courage in turning the tables on these perpetrators of fraudulent asbestos litigation,” Joyce continued. “This successful RICO litigation now serves as a model for other corporate defendants that have been plagued by such fraud for decades.
“With additional revelations about plaintiffs’ lawyer manipulation of the legal system soon expected from the Garlock Sealing Technologies bankruptcy proceedings in North Carolina, policymakers and the public will finally begin to understand the incontrovertible truth about just how prevalent fraudulent asbestos claims have become.
“ATRA urges lawmakers in the upcoming 114th Congress and statehouses across the country to study today’s settlement, the forthcoming Garlock documents and other evidence, and begin moving toward enactment of laws that require greater transparency in asbestos claims filed with courts and the many bankruptcy trusts,” Joyce concluded.