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

Crowd Funding Pitch – Breast Cancer – Chicago’s Innoblative Designs – Seeking to End Barbaric Radiation Treatments for Breast Cancer

Posted in Offtopic, Science

Are you interested in crowd funding to help try to end barbaric radiation treatments for breast cancer, and to support biotech in Chicago? Here’s an opportunity for you. Chicago doctors and engineers from Northwestern seek $15k to build a new device to treat breast cancer WITHOUT radiation. It’s an award winning idea for a new device using heat – at the time of the lumpectomy – to kill any remaining cancer cells. The device could eliminate weeks of radiation after surgery. The company is Innoblative Designs.  This article recaps the idea, and Innoblative’s award wins to date.  The crowd funding web site is here.

I’m in – who else wants to see Chicagoans help stop some damn cancers and grow our biotech?

“KLS Equity to Open Second Round of Asbestos Advertising”

Posted in Asbestos, Asbestos litigation, Litigation Industry

The mass tort world never ceases to amaze. Asbestos litigation advertising apparently includes the group approach described in the the press release below.

“KLS Equity to Open Second Round of Asbestos Advertising
Daniel Spence of KLS Equity to lead second round of funding.

September 29, 2014 06:04 ET | Source: KLS Media
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y., Sept. 29, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — via PRWEB – KLS Equity Group will fund a second round of campaign finance for the production and media purchases of a group of trial attorneys focused on asbestos litigation. Over $30 billion of funds have been placed in trust funds to aid the victims of asbestos exposure. In May of 2014 KLS Equity opened Fund XVII to pay the advertising expenses for a select group of asbestos focused trial attorneys. The fund raised $6.1 million and hired KLS Media Group of Houston, Texas to handle production and media placement. The fund paid for a national advertising campaign running in over 50 major US markets as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico for roughly 90 days ending in early October. The campaign was a major success with participating attorneys retaining over $140 million in cases to date. The fund raised $5 million and will continue the mission of fund XVII’s national campaign for an additional two months, ending in mid-December. Daniel Spence, President of KLS Equity was the lead investor in KLS Equity Fund XVII. Spence Family Investments has pledged $3.5 million for the second round of asbestos advertising campaign financing. KLS Equity’s second round of asbestos campaign financing has closed and the fund is not considering any further outside investors.
About KLS Equity
KLS Equity is a private equity firm founded to finance the advertising campaigns of purpose driven companies that may not have the capital required to successfully launch a new brand, product, or idea. KLS Equity has provided advertising campaign finance for some of the world’s leading companies, including major oil and gas holdings, textiles, legal, and hospitality industries. KLS Equity has funded over $100 million in advertising campaigns.
About KLS Media
KLS Media Global is an advertising agency holding company based in Houston, Texas. KLS Media was founded in 1998. Daniel Spence was named CEO of KLS Media Global in 2005. KLS Media is set to surpass US$500 million in annual 2014 billings including over $366 million in media purchases. In 2013 a Texas based private equity firm purchased a majority stake in KLS Media Global and KLS Media is now asset managed by the equity firm.
This article was originally distributed on PRWeb. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit
KLS Media
Jacob Miller


- See more at:


Does SCOTUS Need Major Change Akin to Changes Proposed for Various State Courts?

Posted in Policy Issues

Does the emperor lack clothes? Does SCOTUS need major change, with some of the changes much like change proposed for state courts (e.g. merit selection)? Those are some of the assertions of a Supreme Court scholar (Edward Chemerinsky) in his new book, The Case Against the Supreme Court. The book is timely issued just before SCOTUS returns to hearing oral arguments.  A September 28, 2014 article at the Washington Post provides a brief summary of some of the book’s points. There also is a September 24, 2014  review from the Wall Street Journal.

In related news, a new analysis by Tony Mauro at AmLaw shows that practicing before SCOTUS increasingly is an opportunity concentrated in the hands of a few law firms. GC’s, it appears, may fear second-guessing if they fail to hire a marquee name. Perhaps the marquee names are well worth the price.

Mesothelioma Awareness Day, and MARF and Mary Hesdorffer

Posted in Asbestos, Cancer, Science

Today is “mesothelioma awareness day.” Obviously most mass tort lawyers know something about mesothelioma. The rest of the world, however, knows much less about the disease, its implications and the present status of research to better understand and treat the disease. And even mass tort lawyers can always learn more about the disease, the human implications, and ongoing research.

For more information in that spirit, see the information presented today (and every day) by Mary Hesdorffer from MARF. Mary is a tireless and thoughtful advocate for help for persons suffering from mesothelioma. Mary also is very experienced former nurse and researcher, with a deep knowledge of mesothelioma research. And she and MARF raise money for more research, and seek to foment more government funding for research.

Tuesday 9/23 – MicroRNA Tools for Trial Use for Evaluating Asbestos-Related Cancers and Other Non-Asbestos Cancers

Posted in Asbestos, Science, Seminars

How to use microRNA in trials?  My law school education did not cover microRNA, nor did it even cover much about DNA. But today, there’s an ongoing revolution in molecular biology and so it’s back to school time for students of all ages and professions. There’s plenty of new science to learn for lawyers, risk managers and others involved with mass tort claims.

To start, a free webinar on actual and potential uses of microRNA for toxic tort trials involving asbestos and other substances. The key speakers are scientists and doctors. One is Bob Wassman, CMO of Rosetta Genomics, a world leader in microRNA for identifying tumors, not to mention other evolving uses. Bob’s done it all when it comes to molecular science and medicine. Another key speaker is Dr. Allan Feingold, a pulmonologist who thrives on the latest in things molecular, and utilized Rosetta’s technology for a recent trial in which he was an expert witness. And there are two layers named Hartley, who both enjoy science but are not related and work on the opposite sides for some litigation. The webinar is free. See below for the agenda for tomorrow, and sign up information.

September 23, 2014
2:00-3:30pm ET


Allan Feingold, MD, FRCP(C), FCCP, Medical Director, Occupational & Environmental Medicine, South Miami Hospital, Miami, FL
Christian H. Hartley, Esq., Maune Raichle Hartley French & Mudd, LLC, Los Angeles, CA
Kirk T. Hartley, Esq., LSP Group LLC, Chicago, IL
E. Robert Wassman, MD, FAAP, FACMG, Chief Medical Officer, Rosetta Genomics, Princeton, NJ

Topics to be covered:

  • Mesothelioma trial use of microRNA – the experience in a Texas mesothelioma trial
  • Plaintiff and defense lawyer perspectives on admissibility issues
  • Asbestos lung cancer trials – actual and potential uses of microRNA
  • Non-asbestos uses for microRNA – heavy metal exposures change microRNA expression patterns
  • Other examples of “toxins” changing microRNA patterns/expression
  • Doctors looking at microRNA patterns for indications on cancer relapse or possible survival


There is no cost to register for this program.

Register online through the REGISTER NOW button or contact Bethany Corio to register by email.

Each complimentary registration includes 1.5-1.8 CLE Credit Hours

Applications are being made to all CLE states as requested by attendees.

For more information about the program and registration, contact Kelsey Minerd.

“High incidence of lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma linked to erionite fibre exposure in a rural community in Central Mexico”

Posted in Asbestos, Science

A new research paper reports as follows:

Objective To report the high incidence of lung cancer (LC) and malignant mesothelioma (MM) linked to environmental exposure to erionite fibres in a rural village of central Mexico.

Methods This is a retrospective survey of clinical and mortality records from the years 2000–2012, accompanied by an environmental survey for nine Group-1 lung and pleura carcinogenic agents listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Results Out of a total of 45 deaths between 2000 and 2012, 14 deaths correspond to different neoplasms of the lung, and at least four deaths to MM. The ages at diagnosis of MM were between 30 and 54 years. Annual age-standardised mortality rates per thousand due to LC and MM in the village (age >20 years) are 7.09 and 2.48 for males, and 4.75 and 1.05 for females, respectively. Erionite fibres were found in exposed rocks and soils, which can easily become airborne and be carried into streets and recreational areas near schools and homes. Other carcinogenic elements and minerals are found only in trace amounts, except for quartz dust and asbestos (chrysotile) cement sheeting, which are also present in the neighbouring villages.

Conclusions These results indicate that environmental exposure to erionite is the main cause of the high rates of MM mortality in the Village of Tierra Blanca, supporting previous similar reports for people exposed to erionite fibres in villages in Turkey.”

The paper is online at Occup Environ Med,  doi:10.1136/oemed-2013-101957

Kudos for “Crude Awakening: Chevron in Ecuador” – Michael Goldhaber’s Insights into the Chevron Trial, in a New Book

Posted in Litigation Industry, Science

The saga involving Chevron/Ecuador oil drilling and litigation is a fascinating and factually intense story of mass tort litigation at its most extreme. The overall events and recent trial have it all – rampant oil production, oil in the ground in places and amounts that should not exist, arguments over what is “pollution,”  jockeying between lawsuits on two continents, use of arbitration to influence litigation, corporate over-reaching/greed, plaintiff lawyer passion and perhaps greed, a smart and opinionated jurist in the US, Ecuadorian judges as witnesses and jurists, the massive horsepower (and bills) of “big law,” the power of media spin, litigation funding, and huge egos. It also appears there was indeed some level of judicial and government corruption in Ecuador, induced – it appears – by all sides.

How to sort it all out? There is no one answer. That said, Michael Goldhaber – a very smart international lawyer and AmLaw writer –  provides excellent and condensed insight into the story in a new online Amazon Kindle book for only $2.99. The aptly titled book is : “Crude Awakening: Chevron in Ecuador.”  A sample  is online at  American Lawyer.

“Crude Awakening”  is great reading for anyone involved with mass torts. The book also includes some philosophic  comments from Michael, and they too are valuable. Indeed, one reads them and suspects Michael wrote the book in part to have a forum for expressing the views, which in general, are views that make sense to me. But I’m biased, I believe in greater transparency and more unbiased, non-partisan intersections between science and law. For example, my view is that we need far more neutral experts to help judges with complex, time-consuming science.

The bottom line? Read the book – it’s an easy read – the writing is intelligent and crisp, and distills out key elements from a massive story that deserves more attention for larger lessons that can be learned. Reality is far more complicated than the soundbites issued by both sets of partisans.