Baltimore Judge to Consider Plan to Revive Backburner Asbestos Cases
Posted Dec 17, 2012 10:28 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A law firm whose name partner bought the Baltimore Orioles with money earned from asbestos suits has a new plan to push more cases through the court system.
The plan by the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos would revive the cases of 13,000 people who claim they became ill from asbestos after their cases were placed on the back burner, the Baltimore Sun reports. The cases were separated from the others in the 1990s in a two-tier system that focused first on those who were the sickest.
Since then, one or two cases a year on the backburner docket have gone to trial, according John Glynn, the judge who will preside at a hearing today. The Angelos firm wants to consolidate the cases, starting with 15 test cases to establish how asbestos causes the types of cancer suffered by the Maryland plaintiffs.
Opponents claim the firm is trying to pressure defendants to settle weak cases. Among them is Harold Kim, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. "It is extremely concerning to see a movement by the Angelos firm to turn back the clock to an outdated and discredited method of asbestos litigation," he told the Baltimore Sun.