Behrens Argues For Asbestos-Related Legislation in Law Review Article

Shook Partner Mark Behrens has written an article for the Fordham Law Review explaining how plaintiff’s attorneys in asbestos cases manage to “double dip” by waiting to file claims with asbestos trusts until after the plaintiff’s tort litigation against asbestos companies has concluded, allowing plaintiffs to “suppress evidence of trust-related exposures that defendants could use to impeach plaintiffs, apportion fault to bankrupt nonparties, or prove that bankrupt entities were the sole cause of a plaintiff’s harm.”

“Why should people care if gamesmanship by asbestos plaintiffs causes defendants to pay more than their fair share to a person dying of mesothelioma or some other serious asbestos-related disease?” Behrens writes. “The short answer is that it is unfair to those defendants, undermines the integrity of the civil justice system, and may hurt future claimants. As an NPR story explained, ‘No one argues that people suffering from mesothelioma shouldn’t get compensated. Instead, it’s a matter of the right companies paying the right amounts.’”

Concluding the article, Behrens argues for state legislation “that requires asbestos plaintiffs to pursue quick compensation from the trusts and allows trust-related exposures and compensation to be properly accounted for in asbestos-related personal injury cases.”