How a Disreputable Firm Almost Hurt Every Local Asbestos Case
When our office takes on an asbestos case, we do so with utmost integrity and only after intensive scrutiny to make sure that the asbestos case has complete validity before we bring it forward. Our ability to win cases and achieve substantial judgments or settlements for our clients depends not only on the way we prepare to meet our burden of proof in each asbestos case but also on our reputation. We want the opposing lawyers to know from the outset that if Kazan Law is on an asbestos case, it must have merit.
But because of the substantial amounts of money involved, the asbestos litigation field can be the target of hucksters and charlatans. Just like the proverbial bad apple that spoils the whole barrel, there is always the concern that a disreputable firm can tarnish all of us and hurt every asbestos case.
For this week’s post to commemorate Kazan Law’s 40th anniversary, we turn to a time just about ten years ago when a Texas law firm suddenly set up shop in San Francisco and just as suddenly closed shop l0 months later. And no longer exists according to a Google search. They came here to try to drum up business for silicosis lawsuits. Silicosis is a lung disease that is caused by inhaling tiny bits of silica. Silica is a common mineral that is part of sand, rock and mineral ores like quartz. Certain forms of it can cause serious lung disease and even increase the risk for developing lung cancer.
The problem was there wasn’t any silicosis here. That didn’t stop them. They blanketed the region with newspaper ads and mass mailings offering free screenings, as reported in by the legal newspaper The Recorder.
They filed about 1,000 lawsuits using a doctor who made diagnoses without personally examining patients or checking their work histories. They were out of control and the courts were not amused. Neither were the attorneys like us that take every lung disease case very seriously.
I was interviewed about it for The Recorder’s article. Here’s an excerpt:
Steven Kazan, one of the country’s top asbestos lawyers, said they (Kazan Law) aren’t bringing silicosis suits and even questions their validity.
“The whole thing is somewhere between shameless and shameful,” said Kazan. “I don’t know of pulmonary doctors around here who really have seen silicosis cases.”
As usual, I got the last word in. Or at least that’s how the reporter chose to end the story.
“They did a whole blanket mailing to Piedmont (a small affluent city of 10,000 in the middle of Oakland). There’s not a whole lot of sandblasters who retired and moved to Piedmont,” said Kazan. “So it’s kind of ridiculous.”
And indeed, it was.