The Intersection Among Torts, Science, Corporate Law, Insurance & Bankruptcy

Videos – Best of iMig Day 1 – For Chrysotile Defendants, Good News and Not So Good News

Posted in Asbestos, Asbestos Bankruptcy, Cancer, Lung Cancer Claims, Science

iMig has posted videos of plenary sessions from Day 1 iMig 2014, and summaries of some other sessions. Best of Imig 2014 – Day 1 is online here, at iMig.

One of the summaries is from a presentation by Julian Peto, a world class PhD epidemiologist with a focus on asbestos topics, among others.  The summary of Dr. Peto’s presentation includes good news and not so good news for chrystotile defendants. The summary of Dr. Peto’s presentation states the following:

Worldwide Epidemiology of Mesothelioma – Dr. Julian Peto

The mesothelioma epidemic is approaching or past the peak in North America, Europe and Australasia, but is still a significant healthcare issue in many parts of the world. Deaths due to mesothelioma for men born in the 1940’s in Britain are expected to reach 1%. At present, there is significant controversy regarding the danger associated with chrysotile, and whether or not amphiboles that are still present in many older buildings in Europe still cause substantial environmental and occupational risks. Dr. Peto and colleagues addressed these issues by assessing worldwide mortality trends and asbestos lung burden in population- based case-control study including 136 mesotheliomas and 377 controls in the United Kingdom. These analyses prompted provided several key findings about mesothelioma risk and burden:

National mesothelioma rates reflect historic amphibole consumption, and show no correlation with chrysotile consumption and this suggests that the common assertion that continued mining or use of chrysotile will cause a major mesothelioma epidemic in countries such as Russia and China is mistaken. However, chrysotile is significantly associated with lung cancer.The relationship between age and rate of mesothelioma mortality is the same across the world.

The relationship between age and rate of mesothelioma mortality is the same across the world.
The majority of mesothelioma in women is due to occupational exposure, but the source(s) are not clear.
In Britain mesothelioma incidence is proportional to amphibole lung burden:
o National rates are proportional to average lung burdens in birth cohorts born between 1940 and 1965.
o Lung burdens are very low in those born since 1980, suggesting a large reduction in environmental as well as occupational exposure in Britain soon after asbestos use ceased.
o There is little continuing hazard in Britain from the asbestos materials that are still present in many older buildings.

NFL Concussion Litigation Becomes a Law School Course

Posted in Class Actions, Class Actions/Aggregate Litigation, Litigation Industry

Science and law meet in a new law school class (at UMKC) focused on the NFL concussion litigation. Too bad its not an online course. The course outline is online. The course is being taught by Paul D. Anderson. He is a plaintiff’s lawyer in the NFL litigation, and runs

UK Supreme Court Rules for Plaintiff in What US Lawyers Would Call an Premises Asbestos Case

Posted in Asbestos, EU Developments, International Asbestos

A victory for the plaintiff in a UK in a case that US lawyers would refer to as an asbestos premises case. The case was covered before in detail in a July 22, 2014 post at the UK Supreme Court blog. Now, the Supreme Court has allowed the claim, in a 3-2 ruling. You can see the UK Supreme Court announce its ruling in a YouTube video – here (really!) Here is a popular press story on the ruling. A press summary from the Court is here.  The opinion is here. The opinion turns on interpretation of UK statutes.

Imagine what it would be like if there was always this much transparency at SCOTUS, or in bankruptcy court rooms in, oh, for example, Delaware, North Carolina, New York or Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh, for an even more specific example).

iMig Day 3 Focuses on the Immune System and Meso, and Speakers on Social and Financial Issues

Posted in Asbestos, Science

Day 3 of iMig includes three different “tracks” for attendees. The science track today is focused on mesothelioma and the immune system. Various presenters focus on the possible use of therapies aimed at triggering the immune system to see and destroy mesothelioma tumors. (A flip side of that subject is how is the immune system effected by asbestos inhalation or ingestion. Investigations into molecular therapies almost always always increase knowledge about causation). Mary Hesdorffer of MARF also will be speaking about therapies and clinical trials.

On the social and financial side, several speakers will address topics regarding efforts to obtain additional research funding. Others will address compensation claiming. The speakers on that topic include Richard Spoor speaking on claiming in South Africa, and Steve Kazan updating his 2012 presentation on claiming from asbestos bankruptcy trusts.

RAND Speaks Again – Factual Evidence Knocks Out Medical Malpractice Myths

Posted in Litigation Industry, Medical Malpractice, Science

Forbes and others are reporting on the latest set of facts and research on effects – or lack of effects – from so-called “medical malpractice reform.” The data is from RAND, and is published here in the NEJM. An October 15 ,2014 story from Forbes provides an overview. Here’s the key quote:

“A new analysis by the RAND Corporation of the behavior of emergency room physicians in three states that raised malpractice standards shows doctors still order expensive and often unnecessary medical tests. In this study, malpractice reform laws in Texas and South Carolina had no effect on the use of expensive imaging and a law in Georgia had only a small drop in emergency room charges.

“Physicians say they order unnecessary tests strictly out of fear of being sued, but our results suggest the story is more complicated,” said Dr. Daniel A. Waxman, a researcher at RAND who is the leader author of the study, “The Effect of Malpractice Reform on Emergency Department Care” published in a special article in the Oct. 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was funded by the Veterans Affairs Office of Academic Affiliations.”

iMig Day 2 – More Molecular Information, and Some Hope

Posted in Asbestos, Cancer, Science

Day 2 of iMig 2014 is on October 22,  and is not your father’s mesothelioma science conference. In the past, there was little positive to say about medicine and mesothelioma. Today, however, positives are appearing, more and more often, albeit with a long way to go.

Day 2 continues the focus on molecular topics. Michele Carbone and Bruce Robinson each present twice, with Dr. Robinson focused on immunotherapy for mesothelioma, and Dr. Carbone focused on molecular genetics and the BAP1 mutation. Also, there are multiple presentations related to microRNA and mesothelioma, and multiple presentations regarding various, operating biobanks for mesotheliomas. Also notable are the following two presentations:

21.2 S Maki-Nevala 1045

Exome Sequencing Reveals Novel Recurrent Mutations in Asbestos-Exposed Lung Adenocarcinoma and Malignant Mesothelioma

23.8 S Burgers 1215

Occasional Exposure to Asbestos: What is the Risk?


An Implicit Message for the Toxic Tort Litigation Industry News – Tripled Profits for Illumina, the World’s Leader in Gene Sequencing Devices

Posted in Asbestos, Cancer, Science

Need more proof that the future of toxic torts will involve molecular issues? Consider that the impact of gene sequencing shows up in multiple places, including hospitals and on Wall Street. Illumina is one of two companies leading production of computerized systems for gene sequencing, and is the clear leader. Business is so good that Illumina  just announced tripled profits, and blew well past analyst expectations. Last spring, the MIT Technology Review named Illumina the “smartest company in the world.”


iMig Kicks Off in South Africa – NexGen Sequencing of Mesos Leads Off

Posted in Asbestos, Science

The biennial meeting of iMig is underway as mesothelioma researchers gather in South Africa for three days of discussion of research on mesothelioma. Day 1 is Tuesday the 21st, and kicks off with four plenary sessions. The first three focus on molecular and genomic factors in mesothelioma. One talk is by the University of Chicago’s Dr. Ravi Salgia. The fourth is a presentation by Laurie Kazan- Allen, who heads up IBAS. Her brother is Steve Kazan.

Those talks are followed by a presentation on a worldwide look at mesothelioma by Julian Peto, a world class epidemiologist in London with a long-time focus on mesothelioma, among other things. The four plenary sessions are further detailed below:

“10.1 C Alifrangis 0815
Next Generation Sequencing:
Genome-Directed Precision
Medicine in Mesothelioma

10.2 R Salgia 0840
Mesothelioma–From Chaos to
Mitochondrial Functionality: What
the Fractal?

10.3 R Weinberg 0905
iMig Special Keynote Lecture:
Cancer Stem Cells as Target

10.4 L Kazan-Allen 0935 The Global Asbestos Landscape – Past, Present and Future

“Devil In the Dust” – Australia’s Old Wunderlich Factory for Asbestos Cement Products

Posted in Asbestos

“Devil in the Dust” is the title for an online, multimedia story about disease in persons who lived, played and worked in the vicinity of Australia’s old Wunderlich asbestos cement factory in the Melbourne area. The online story presentation from Australia’s  Herald Sun is notable for both its substance and its form. The interactive graphics are both powerful and useful. Investigative journalism continues its resurgence, but, as here, lacking adequate science and context.