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January 26th, 2016

Another Asbestos Defendant Seeks to Join RICO Litigation Against Plaintiffs’ Firms Accused of Fraud

Asbestos defendant John Crane Inc. this week filed motions in federal district court seeking to intervene in the Garlock Sealing Technologies-led fraud litigation against two plaintiffs’ law firms, Dallas-based Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett and the Shein Law Center of Philadelphia.  The original Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) suit was filed in January 2014.

John Crane’s intervention comes after its review of previously sealed documents from Garlock’s ongoing bankruptcy case, which suggest that a number of plaintiffs’ firms have for many years manipulated evidence of alleged asbestos exposure in order to collect damages both from still solvent defendants through lawsuits and bankrupted defendants through administrative trust claims — a shameless practice known as “double-dipping.”

Once Crane reviewed the now-unsealed files from the Garlock case, it was convinced it had been defrauded by plaintiffs’ lawyers in the same manner that Garlock claims to have been.  An economic consulting firm estimates that 80% of relevant bankruptcy trust claims were not disclosed to John Crane Co. during pre-trial discovery, as required.

Forbes’ veteran legal affairs correspondent Daniel Fisher offers excellent additional coverage of this developing story here.

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