Lung cancer claiming in asbestos litigation is one of the current "hot topics." This week the dialog will continue at Perrin Conference's December 12 asbestos conference in NY. The dialog will be made more useful by a data-filled paper recently published by Marc Scarcella and Peter Kelso of Bates White and Joseph Cagnoli of Segal McCambridge. Among other things, the paper provides a powerful overview of the linkage between the economics of asbestos trust claiming and tort system claiming. The paper is a "must read" for anyone in asbestos litigation.
Lung Cancer Claiming, and the Problem of Fact-Free, Type 1 Commentary on Economic, Social and Legal Issues - Economics and Asbestos
One of the flaws with 24/7 media is endless desire and space for content, and a tendency to publish fact-free articles that masquerade as analysis. That is, articles that typically consists of irrelevant sounds bites that appeal to important but often incorrect type 1 thinking built on reflex instead of analysis of actually relevant facts.
Paul Krugman recently pointed out an example of fact-free commentary in politics and economics by well-known names. In the world of asbestos, otherwise respected commentators Joe Nocera and Paul Brodeur unfortunately joined the parade with fact-free arguments about the merits or demerits of an asbestos lung cancer lawsuit recently filed by a New York legislator who chain smoked for years. Nocera here and Brodeur here.
Both articles toss out useless generalities without actual analysis of the actual facts specific to the specific laws suit. Like Mr. Nocera, I suspect the lawsuit lacks merit but the absence of facts makes my suspicion pointless. It's sad to see respected writers joining in fact-free type 1 thinking instead of actually doing the type 2 research and analysis that made them well known journalists.
One wonders how the litigation industry will evolve in the age of fact-free media dominated by type 1 thinking, made worse by type 1 articles from people who normally undertake type 2 analysis.
Reasons to Invest in Science - So Many Blood Cancers, and New Hope from Great New Science - ASH 2013
(The picture above shows one of two halls used for poster sessions at ASH 2013. The picture is courtesy of Pieter Droppert, who writes about science for investors.)
So many types of blood cancers - the broad classes are myelomas, lymphomas and leukemias.
So many annual blood cancers. The numbers below are provided by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and address only the US; the global toll is perhaps incalculable, and almost unspeakable.
- Approximately every 4 minutes one person in the US is diagnosed with a blood cancer
- An estimated combined total of 149,990 people in the US are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma in 2013.
- New cases of leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma are expected to account for 9.0 percent of the estimated 1,660,290 new cancer cases diagnosed in the US in 2013.
For Chicagoans looking for wickedly smart humor this weekend, consider singing and dancing lawyers presenting the Chicago Bar Association's annual year end show of musical skits lampooning everybody.
We saw it Wednesday night and it was great, with its theme built around the Wizard of Oz. Our favorite skit of the evening played off the recent Illinois law change to allow gay marriage. The skit was to the tune of "ding, dong, the witch is dead." But in the skit, the lyric instead was "ding, dong, the gays can wed." And the skit was presented as the Oz-like dream/nightmare of Michele Bachmann (Dorothy) after accidentally being hit on the head by a poster carried by supporters of Obamacare.
Another great skit featured a faux Jesse Jackson Jr. singing "Bought It" to the tune of "Beat It." (Non-Chicagoans can go here for the back story if its not news you know.)
So, there's proof - some lawyers really can be creative, and sing and dance too !
Big Tobacco Moves More Massively into the Russian Marketplace - No Fear of Russian Lung Cancer Litigation
Big tobacco continues to expand its global spreading of death and cancer, this time with Phillip Morris and Japan Tobacco making major new investments in Russian tobacco sales. A cynic might think big tobacco does not fear increases in lung cancer litigation in Russia. Besides, even if lung cancer litigation does surge in Russia in 30 years, the profits already will be long gone. And, the potential asbestos defendants there (such as Uralbest) probably will follow the US model of doing very little to force the lung cancer loss onto big tobacco.
The Delaware Supreme Court's Signficant New Ruling on Corporate Dissolution Rules, and Related Insurance and Limitations Issues
For Delaware corporations, last week brought a significant new ruling from the Delaware Supreme Court on obligations and rights related to corporate dissolution by companies subject to contingent liability claims. The opinion also addresses key issues regarding a corporation's liability insurance coverage, and rules for the timing of third party claims against the dissolved corporation. The opinion is analyzed below in a guest post written by Paul Bradley and Stephanie Fox of Delaware's Maron Marvel Bradley & Anderson LLC in Wilmington. Many thanks to Paul and Stephanie for sharing their analysis.
AMEX - A New Nominee for the Laziest and/or Stupidest Company in the US - American Express Refuses to Process Charitable Donations on Giving Tuesday
AMEX has done the impossible - it has eclipsed CapitalOne as the laziest and/or stupidest financial services company in the US. How you might ask? The short answer is: refusing to process as "suspicious" a $ 250 donation to The National Health Law Program. As described on its web site, "NHeLP protects and advances the health rights of low income and underserved individuals. The oldest non-profit of its kind, NHeLP advocates, educates and litigates at the federal and state level."
The longer story is as follows. Advocacy groups cleverly came up with the idea of Giving Tuesday as a follow on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So, the email inbox today included requests for donations from a range of groups. For example, requests from highly suspicious groups (sarcasm intended), including:
Lynn Sage Foundation for breast cancer
Imerman's Angels, peer support for persons with cancer
NHeLP - health insurance advocacy for low income persons
Normally I am a planned giver, but NHeLP's message stood out because the email stated that an anonymous donor was going to match all monies taken in today by NHeLP. And, the day at our office today started with my wonderful paralegal talking about her friend with widespread ovarian cancer and no health insurance (but a kind doctor performed surgery to remove the tumor despite the lack of insurance). So, out came my personal AMEX card and my wonderful assistant agreed to process the donation for me while I ran off to a lunch. Oddly, however, she said the card kept being rejected, for no apparent reason.
As it turns out, AMEX refused to process the $250 donation transaction - on Giving Tuesday - was viewed as "suspicious." How do I know that? Because on returning from lunch, my cell phone held a voicemail message from AMEX' card security group.
The Obamacare web site looks great when compared to Fidelity's web site. Not once but twice, Fidelity's computer systems have failed and destroyed my newly-created 401(k) account. Once was by phone - a month or so ago. Fidelity's person did the account creation from information I gave them by phone. They claimed the account was all set up, but it never could be activated and disappeared despite various emails to "the help desk."
Tonight I went online and created a new account myself via online tools. So, I did the busy work. But, once again, the system failed - this time it threw up an error message when I reached the section for creating a username and password. And so the account was gone. No account, no nada. But Fidelity did still send an email assuring me that I now have an account, and welcoming me to Fidelity.
Fidelity apparently has joined CapitalOne in the race to the bottom among financial service entities. Apparently I also now know why Fidelity's customer agreement includes a waiver of class action rights.
One part of change is creating great new scientific findings and related products. Another part relates to adoption and translation into the clinic. And then of relevance to this blog, there is the phase of translation into litigation.
On the point of translation into clinical use, consider the following just-issued letter from Rosetta Genomics to its shareholders. Rosetta is a company that uses microRNA to identify the actual source of a tumor (the CUP test, for Cancer of Unknown Primary). Rosetta also sells tests specific to identifying whether a tumor is in fact a mesotheliomas And, more recently, Rosetta announced successful patent claim progress on using microRNA as a "drug" to try to slow or block liver cancers.
Rosetta's letter to shareholders is relevant because it focuses on increasing physician awareness of the possibilities arising from microRNA testing, and significant increases in use of the CUP test. At some point, trial lawyers on all sides will becoming increasingly aware of tumor identification tests. And, one would hope, the same would apply to asbestos defendants, asbestos trusts, futures representatives, and even liability insurance companies. Indeed, in a logical world, one might think that all of those groups would invest heavily in cancer research, but most do not, sad to say. To date, by far the primary supporters of mesothelioma research are government agencies, the plaintiff's bar and mesothelioma victims.