Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Yesterday's WSJ Law Blog commented on last week's decision by Ohio Judge Harry Hanna to bar the Brayton Purcell law firm from appearing in his court, putting it in the broader context of a shift in favor of defendants in asbestos litigation:
In the latest setback for plaintiffs’ attorneys involved in large-scale asbestos litigation, an Ohio state court judge barred a California law firm from appearing in his court after finding that its lawyers had lied and obstructed the discovery process in a case involving an asbestos claim. ...
The ruling is one of a number in the past several years that have gone against asbestos plaintiffs, including several in Mississippi, for years regarded as a plaintiff-friendly state. Other states have erected legislative hurdles, making asbestos claims more difficult to win.
The case involved a mesothelioma wrongful death claim against Lorillard based on exposure to asbestos contained in Kent cigarette filters in the 1950s. The judge, while condemning the plaintiffs' lawyer, did not dismiss the case, finding that the decedent's family had done nothing wrong.