Dallas partner James Lowery, a member of Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani's Environmental/Toxic Tort & Product Liability Practice Group, recently wrote a commentary that appeared in the January 24, 2018 issue of Mealey’s Asbestos Reporter. The commentary, “The Scourge of Over-Naming In Asbestos Litigation: The Costs to Litigants And The Impact on Justice,” provides a new perspective on the real effects, both monetary and on our system of justice, of repetitive lawsuits brought against defendants with little to no legal or factual basis.
Lowery reviews the history of the over-naming phenomenon and how it has impacted mass tort litigation, particularly the asbestos docket, focusing on the economic impact on American businesses who have succumbed to the weight of thousands of asbestos claims. The commentary then takes a new approach, walking the reader through a typical asbestos case with 118 named defendants, only a handful of those being identified to possibly contributing to the plaintiff’s injury in any way. Lowery uses real data and his decades of experience as a trial and in-house counsel to take the reader through the mass tort litigation process, putting real cost estimates on each step along the way. The result is a staggering cost and real impact on defendants and insurers, multiplied by the thousands of asbestos claims filed each year.
The commentary then reviews the alternatives available to defendants and insurers in response to the over-naming onslaught. These range from various case-specific and docket-wide motions and legal actions, to creative settlement alternatives and possible legislative remedies. The commentary is a clarion call for all those impacted by the scourge of over-naming to work together to take the steps necessary to counter the real and negative impact of this practice that has gone on far too long.
Lowery has nearly 30 years of experience in trying toxic tort cases in jurisdictions across the country. He has obtained defense verdicts in asbestos cases in Madison County, Illinois, California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Iowa. Lowery has also served as national and regional coordinating counsel for several clients and supervised a nationwide docket of toxic tort cases as an in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 company. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America for 2016-2018 for Mass Tort and Toxic Tort Litigation.
To read this commentary, please click here.