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Wall Street Journal Continues to Side with Asbestos Companies on Allegations of Asbestos Trust Fraud

08-23-2013

The Wall Street Journal is continuing its practice of spreading asbestos trust fraud propaganda in its recent piece, “ Exposing Asbestos Fraud.” The piece alleges that the judiciary is standing in the way of justice and that a judge ruling against a corporation while keeping the proceedings closed to the public is proof that there is fraud occurring in the asbestos trust system.

WSJ claims that North Carolina Federal Judge George Hodges is being “pushed” by plaintiffs’ attorneys to force Garlock Sealing Technologies to deposit an additional $1.3 billion into a bankruptcy trust for future asbestos claims, while Garlock feels that the $125 million trust they were forced to set up in 2010, after filing for bankruptcy in an attempt to secure immunity from lawsuits filed by persons injured by its asbestos products, should be more than enough to suffice.

WSJ asserts that plaintiffs’ attorneys filing claims with multiple bankruptcy trusts while pursuing others in court is a scam. WSJ, asbestos manufacturers and industry-backed government representatives like to call this practice “double-dipping.” Asbestos manufacturers feel that even if a plaintiff was exposed to asbestos through use of their products, if they were also exposed through use of another manufacturer’s product, they should only receive compensation for their deadly disease from one. This is not a scam, and there is nothing fraudulent about it, the majority of people who suffer from asbestos related disease were exposed to a wide variety of asbestos products from different manufacturers which ultimately caused their disease.

Lest we forget, the companies who manufactured and sold asbestos containing products up into the 1970s and 1980s knew for decades the harm caused by asbestos and kept it hidden, paying “scientists” and “industrial experts” to create false scientific articles, reports and evidence that asbestos was safe. Very much like what the Canadian government and asbestos industry were doing up into 2012, while Russia and other countries with thriving asbestos industries continue this practice today.

WSJ also criticizes Judge Hodges for closing his courtroom to the public during proceedings. WSJ and the industry would have you believe that keeping settlement information between different defendants confidential is deceitful. The truth is that settlements are the result of defendants deciding that the risk of going to trial before jury is too high, and it would be more beneficial for them to settle outside of court.

WSJ has previously expressed ardent support of the deceitfully clever bill known as the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act, the FACT Act, which would require asbestos trusts to file quarterly reports disclosing personal settlement information on claimants in an attempt to limit the payouts of other defendants, who are also found liable for causing a victim’s exposure. WSJreported on rampant fraud occurring in the trust system, the sponsors of the bill even quoted WSJ’s “investigative reporting” as evidence at the bill’s hearing, but as we discussed here, both parties failed to present any actual evidence of fraud.

WSJ continues to claim that fraud is occurring in the trust system but still offers no actual evidence. They state that Garlock was forced into bankruptcy because of fraudulent claims, again with no evidentiary support. If Garlock was forced into bankrupty, it was due to being tried and found guilty for causing harm to thousands of people in court systems all over the country. WSJ also alleges that Judge Hodges’ ruling against Garlock must be wrong simply because they are not privy to the transcripts. WSJ seems to believe that they should be able rule over these cases, and it’s a good thing they do not, as they have made it clear who they think the real victims are.

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