For your delectation and delight, desultory dicta on the law of delicts.

More Rosner & Markowitz Faux History of Workplace Safety

July 9th, 2020

Historians, often of the subspecies social, labor, or Marxist, have frequently been recruited by the lawsuit industry to support their litigation efforts. One such historian, David Rosner, sometimes with his friend Gerald Markowitz, seems to show up everywhere, including the infamous Ingham case, in which he served largely as a compurgator and moralist.

Given the role that such historians are permitted to play in high-stakes litigation, it is important to look at their more professional work in the journals for insights into their methodology. A couple of years ago, David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz, published a story about governmental regulation of workplace safety before the passage of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1970.[1] Their article is an interesting case study of how to bias an historical analysis by leaving out material facts, a modus operandi in their litigation work as well.

The abstract gives a brief flavor of their tendentious narrative:

“The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and the Workers Right to Know laws later in that decade were signature moments in the history of occupational safety and health. We have examined how and why industry leaders came to accept that it was the obligation of business to provide information about the dangers to health of the materials that workers encountered. Informing workers about the hazards of the job had plagued labor–management relations and fed labor disputes, strikes, and even pitched battles during the turn of the century decades. Industry’s rhetorical embrace of the responsibility to inform was part of its argument that government regulation of the workplace was not necessary because private corporations were doing it.”

The authors attempt to tell a one-sided story that only “voluntary” warnings were assumed by employers before OSHA, without the force of law. The enterprise perpetuates a common myth of plaintiffs’ advocates that pre-OSHA occupational safety was based upon employers’ voluntary assumption of responsibility, and that it was not until the passage of the OSH Act that employers were subject to legal obligations to warn.

In terms of scholarship, Rosner and Markowitz break no new ground; indeed, the topic was presented with more historical acumen by scientists in an article that predated the Rosner and Markowitz article by a decade.[2] More damning, however, the historians laureate of the plaintiffs’ bar contradict their thesis that manufacturers had only voluntary commitments to their worker safety by pointing to the law of the 1930s, which placed a common law duty of care on employers:

“As one judge in the New Jersey Supreme Court opined at the time, ‘It was the duty of the defendant company to exercise reasonable care that the place in which it set the deceased at work . . . should be reasonably safe for the plaintiff, and free from latent dangers known to the defendant company, or discoverable by an ordinary prudent master, under the circumstances’.”[3]

Of course, legal historians are well aware that there has been a common law duty of reasonable care owed by “masters” (employers) to their “servants” (employees), including a duty to protect them from occupational hazards such as overexposure to dusts, including respirable crystalline silica.[4] There was nothing voluntary about the common law duty.

What makes Rosner and Markowitz’s account egregiously wrong is its complete omission of the extensive state governmental regulation of occupational exposures in advance of OSHA. Taking New York (where Rosner and Markowitz live and teach) as an example, we can see that the state had occupied the field of regulating workplace safety many decades before the enactment of OSHA.

The industrial use of crystalline silica provides an example of a “hot” issue in early 20th century industrial hygiene.  Initial efforts in New York state, starting as early as 1913, focused on the most prevalent industrial exposures, such as foundries, where whole grain and ground silica was used in metal casting and cleaning. New York’s long-recognized common law duty of employers to provide a safe workplace was statutorily codified in 1921.[5] By 1935, silicosis became a compensable disease under New York law, in all industrial settings.

New York’s efforts to protect industrial workers from silica exposure achieved national recognition in 1940, when LIFE magazine published a description of measures taken by the state to safeguard workers on an 85-mile tunnel aqueduct project. The project required thousands of workers to drill through quartzite rock (composed of almost entirely of crystalline silica). Intent on avoiding a repeat of the Hawk’s Nest tragedy, the state imposed safety measures on the project, including wet drilling, elaborate ventilation, and air sampling. LIFE declared the New York state precautions to be “[a] triumph of preventative medicine.”[6]

New York courts also have been in the forefront of recognizing the hazards of silica exposure, and addressing the legal implications of knowledge of those hazards. In 1944, New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, held, in a silicosis personal injury case, that:

“[i]t is a matter of common knowledge that it is injurious to the lungs and dangerous to health to work in silica dust, a fact which defendant was bound to know.”[7]

From the 1950s on, New York comprehensively regulated the use of crystalline silica in the industrial workplace. In 1956, New York promulgated “Industrial Code Rule No. 12 – Control of Air Contaminants,” which governed “all processes and operations releasing or disseminating air contaminants in any workroom or work space” (§ 12.1), and clearly defined the employer’s duties to protect workers, regardless of the industry sector or manufacturing process.

Silica was specifically covered by these 1956 regulations. Section 12.2 of the Rule, “Responsibility of employers,” requires:

“Every employer shall observe and effect compliance with the provisions of this rule relating to prevention of air contamination and to providing, installing, operating and maintaining control or protective equipment, and shall instruct his employees as to the hazards of their work, the use of such control or protective equipment and their responsibility for complying with this rule.”

Section 12.25 specifically identified industrial processes that create “air contaminants,” such as free silica.

New York law imposed correlative obligations upon workers. Under § 12.3, the employee’s responsibility was to use the controls and equipment provided by his employer for his protection.

New York’s 1956 regulations, like the federal regulations that would follow in the early 1970s, focused on avoiding exposure to hazardous substances such as crystalline silica in the first instance. Section 12.7, “Prevention,” requires that

“[a]ll processes and operations where practicable shall be so conducted or controlled as to prevent avoidable creation of air contaminants.”

Section 12.9, General control methods, specifies “[o]ne or more of the following methods . . . control dangerous air contaminants:

  1. Substitution of a material which does not produce air contaminants;
  2. Local exhaust ventilation at the source of generation of the air contaminant;
  3. Dilution ventilation in any work space in which air contaminants are generated or released;
  4. Application of water or other wetting agent to prevent air contaminants;
  5. Other methods approved by the board.”

Section 12-29, “Maximum allowable concentrations – evidence of dangerous air contaminants,” provides that air contaminants in quantities greater than those listed “shall constitute prima-facie evidence that such contaminants are dangerous air contaminants.” In a chart entitled “Mineral Dusts,” the 1956 regulations specifically imposed a maximum exposure for free crystalline silica, depending upon the percentage concentration of silica in the total dust.

In 1958, New York revised Rule 12, with its extensive regulation of silica, to provide an even more detailed description of employer responsibilities of employers for air monitoring, ventilation, respiratory programs, and worker education. Section 12.6 of the 1958 Regulations, “Prevention of air contamination,” mandated that

“[a]ll operations producing air contaminants shall be so conducted that the generation, release or dissemination of air contaminants is kept at the lowest practicable level.”

Rule 12 was revised again in 1963, and in 1971, each time with greater specificity of the employer’s responsibility for safe handling of air contaminants, which was always defined to include silica dust. These state regulations never restricted their application to any particular industry. Crystalline silica was thus regulated in every industry conducted within New York.

New York state recruited and employed some of the leading scientists in the field of industrial hygiene and occupational medicine to serve in its Department of Labor’s Division of Industrial Hygiene. Leonard Greenberg, who was a graduate of Columbia College of Engineering, and who received his Ph.D. and M.D. degrees from Yale, served as the executive director of the New York State Division of Industrial Hygiene 1935 to 1952. He later served as an official on pollution control until 1969.[8] While at the New York Department of Labor, contributed widely to scientific publications on occupational health,[9] as did many other scientists under his supervision.[10]

Omission of material facts seems to be a key aspect of the faux historian’s methodology, and very useful in litigation if your conscience permits it.

[1]  David Rosner & Gerald Markowitz, “‘Educate the Individual . . . to a Sane Appreciation of the Risk’: A History of Industry’s Responsibility to Warn of Job Dangers Before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,” 106 Am. J. Pub. Health 28 (2016).

[2]  See John L. Henshaw, Shannon H. Gaffney, Amy K. Madl , and Dennis J. Paustenbach, “The Employer’s Responsibility to Maintain a Safe and Healthful Work Environment: An Historical Review of Societal Expectations and Industrial Practices,” 19 Employee Responsibility & Rights J. 173 (2007).

[3]  Rosner & Markowitz at 30 (quoting Frederick Willson, “The Very Least an Employer Should Know About Dust and Fume Diseases,” 62 Safety Engineering 317 (Nov. 1931) (quoting in turn an unidentified New Jersey court decision).

[4]  See, e.g., Bellows v. Merchants Dispatch Transp. Co., 257 A.D. 15 (4th Dept. 1939) (holding that employer failed to provide a safe work environment with proper ventilation to employee who contracted silicosis).

[5]  New York Labor Law § 200 (enacted 1921).

[6]  “Silicosis,” Life (April 1, 1940).

[7]  Sadowski v. Long Island R.R., 292 N.Y. 448, 456 (1944),

[8]  “Leonard Greenberg, Pollution Official, Dies,” New York Times (April 12, 1991).

[9]  See, e.g., Leonard Greenburg, “Pneumoconiosis,” 33 Am. J. Pub. Health 849 (1943); Leonard Greenburg, “The Dust Hazard in Tremolite Talc Mining,” 19 Yale J. Biology & Med. 481 (1947).

[10]  See, e.g., James D. Hackett, Silicosis, N.Y. Dep’t Labor & Industry Bull. 11 (Dec. 1932); Frieda S. Miller, Industrial Commissioner, “Detection and Control of Silicosis and Other Occupational Diseases” (1940); Adelaide Ross Smith, “Silicosis and Its Prevention, Special Bulletin No. 198,” (1946).

Legal Remedies for Suspect Medical Science in Products Cases – Part Two

June 3rd, 2020

The Federal Multi-District Silicosis Proceedings Before Judge Janis Jack

One of the most significant developments in the role of scientific and medical evidence gatekeeping under Rule 702, and the Supreme Court’s decision in Daubert,[1] was the 2005 opinion of Judge Janis Graham Jack in the multi-district silicosis litigation.[2] Judge Jack’s lengthy opinion addresses a variety of procedural issues, including subject matter jurisdiction over some of the cases, but Her Honor’s focus was “whether the doctors who diagnosed Plaintiffs with silicosis employed a sufficiently reliable methodology for their testimony to be admissible” and “whether Plaintiffs’ counsel should be sanctioned for submitting unreliable diagnoses and failing to fully comply with discovery orders.”  Judge Jack held that thousands of diagnoses of silicosis were radically flawed and could not be treated as proper science or medicine, and she imposed sanctions against plaintiffs’ lawyers in the cases over which she had subject matter jurisdiction.

In summary, Judge Jack held that to pass the minimum reliability analysis under Daubert, a diagnosis of silicosis requires:

“(1) an adequate exposure to silica dust with an appropriate latency period,

(2) radiographic evidence of silicosis, and

(3) the absence of any good reason to believe that the radiographic findings are the result of some other condition (i.e., a differential diagnosis).

* * * * *

As discussed above, these three criteria are universally accepted, as demonstrated by learned treatises and experts in the field.  It is the implementation of these criteria in these cases which ranged from questionable to abysmal.”[3]

With respect to the first criterion, evidence of “adequate exposure to silica dust with an appropriate latency period,” the court concluded that “[t]he ‘exposure histories’ (or ‘work histories’) were virtually always taken by people with no medical training, who had significant financial incentives to find someone positive for exposure to silica (or asbestos, depending on which type of suit the employing law firm was seeking to file).”[4]  The court went on to state that:

“[t]hese ‘histories’ were devoid of meaningful details, such as the duration and intensity of exposure, which are critical to determining whether someone has sufficient exposure, dosage and latency to support a reliable diagnosis.”[5]

Judge Jack, who had been a registered nurse before going to law school and becoming a lawyer, was clearly concerned that the medical “histories were taken by receptionists [at medical screening companies allied with plaintiffs’ counsel] with no medical training.”[6]  The head of one of the screening companies “testified that the doctors who worked for his screening company simply relied upon the abbreviated work histories that [the screening company] supplied them.”[7]  As a former nurse, Judge Jack was probably more than a little put off by the screening company executive’s explanation that “to ask the doctor to take a work history in our field would be like asking [the defense attorney questioning him] to wash my car.  I mean it’s . . . very beneath him.”[8]  Judge Jack rejected this approach entirely, and found that legitimate doctors would find it necessary to take the occupational history themselves:

“This type of thorough, detailed, physician-guided work/exposure history is the kind of history that experts in the field of occupational medicine insist upon when diagnosing silicosis.  It is therefore the type of history required by the Federal Rules for these diagnoses to be admissible.  Cf. Allen v. Pennsylvania Eng’g Corp., 102 F.3d 194, 198 (5th Cir. 1996)… .”[9]

The second required predicate for an admissible diagnosis of silicosis was an appropriate radiographic finding – a so-called “B-read,” which is simply the interpretation of a physician, who has passed a certifying proficiency examination given by the National Institute of Occupational Health, for evaluating chest films for pneumoconiosis, using a standardized scale and notations.  Judge Jack discerned, contrary to the approach taken by some of the plaintiffs’ lawyers and certain doctors, that a positive B-read was not “a talisman that would dispel any doubts about the diagnoses as a whole.”[10]  A positive B-read simply is not sufficient alone to support a silicosis diagnosis.

Judge Jack noted that a consensus report of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine rejected the use of a B-read alone as sufficient to support a diagnosis of pneumoconiosis, and emphasized the views of one testifying physician that the “ILO guidelines, by their express terms, [were] ‘not supposed to be used for designation of disease or determining compensation.’ ”[11] But even apart from rejecting the concept that a positive B-read was by itself a sufficient basis for a diagnosis of silicosis, Judge Jack fundamentally criticized the manner in which the X-rays at issue were conducted.

The B-reader system was not originally established for use in litigation, but as part of a coal workers’ surveillance program to determine whether a worker should be transferred to a low-dust environment.  And under this surveillance program, the worker is not transferred until at least two B-readers agree on a positive read.  But in most of these MDL cases, a single positive B-read was deemed sufficient by plaintiffs’ hired witnesses to establish a diagnosis of silicosis.[12]

Judge Jack also stressed that the methodology followed by the B-readers did “not correspond to the ILO’s recommended methodology for applying the ILO classification system, because according to ILO guidelines:

“When classifying radiographs for epidemiological purposes it is essential that the reader does not consider any information about the individuals concerned other than the radiographs themselves.  Awareness of supplementary details specific to the individuals themselves can introduce bias into the results.”[13]

In the cases before her, Judge Jack found that it was obvious that the so-called B-reader was “acutely aware of the precise disease he is supposed to be finding on the X-rays.  In these cases, the doctors repeatedly testified that they were told to look for silicosis, and the doctors did as they were told.”[14] Business pressures had obviously corrupted the diagnostic process, and resulted in improbable consistency in finding silicosis in whomever plaintiffs’ lawyers signed up for litigation.

This corrupt consistency, and obediency to retaining plaintiffs’ counsel, which led to Judge Jack’s approval of the testimony from the hearings that advanced the notion that some degree of blinding is needed to assure the integrity of the diagnostic process. When the radiographic films come from a mass screening, the readers should be confronted with films known to be negative through multiple, independent evaluations.

The third criterion given by Judge Jack for an admissible diagnosis of silicosis, was a proper “differential diagnosis,” which consisted of a showing of “the absence of any good reason to believe that the positive radiographic findings are the result of some other condition.”[15]

One of the physicians whose diagnoses were challenged claimed that this ruling out of other explanations for a radiographic pattern was not required for diagnosing silicosis, but Judge Jack found that this self-serving opinion was contradicted by the major textbooks in the field, by the physicians who showed up to testify in the hearings, and even by the plaintiffs’ own briefs. Judge Jack adverted to the language of Daubert to note that one factor to be considered in the “reliability” of an expert witness’s opinion was its general acceptance in the relevant scientific community.[16] The self-validating views of plaintiffs’ expert witnesses simply were not generally accepted in any legitimate segment of the medical profession. And thus Judge Jack found that, in the MDL cases, the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses’ failure to exclude other alternative causes of the radiographic findings clearly was not generally accepted in the field of occupational medicine, and that their opinions did not satisfy the requirements of Rule 702.[17] A proper differential diagnosis required what was lacking across the board in the cases, namely “a thorough occupational/exposure history and medical history,” as well as a social history that included travel destinations.[18]

In addition to Judge Jack’s carefully reasoned conclusions about the diagnostic “process” used by the challenged expert witnesses, Her Honor was presented with additional evidence of the egregious infirmity of the challenged diagnoses:

– The willingness of one doctor to render opinions on 1,239 plaintiffs in the MDL when he was admittedly not a qualified B-reader, not an expert in silicosis treatment, not qualified to read X-rays or CT scans, did no physical examinations, simply took whatever histories had been given to him by the plaintiffs’ lawyers, and spent a negligible amount of time reviewing each of the plaintiffs’ files.  The doctor testified that his practice consists almost entirely of litigation consulting and that he charges $600 per hour for that work.

– Another doctor’s abandonment of about 3,700 diagnoses under the scrutiny generated by the hearings before Judge Jack.

– The fact that 1,587 claimants who had previously been listed as having asbestosis, with no reference to silica disease, had their diagnoses changed to silicosis, with no reference to asbestos disease.  These diagnoses were produced rapidly and in large groups.

– The fact that a purported epidemic of silicosis apparently began abruptly in early 2001, when plaintiffs’ lawyers turned their attention to this alternative to asbestos litigation, and the fact that many of the silicosis claimants were recycled asbestosis clients of the plaintiffs’ firms.

The specific facts before Judge Jack may seem extreme, but the same or similar abuses have been commonplace in asbestos litigation for a long time before they were outed in the silicosis MDL.  The crucial holdings of In re Silica go beyond the serious depravity of the expert witnesses involved.

Raymark v. Stempel

In 1990, one now defunct asbestos product manufacturer, Raymark Industries, Inc. (“Raymark”), deluged with dubious lawsuits, brought RICO and other claims against medical professionals, lawyers, and claimants.[19]  Raymark based its allegations on deceptions that led it to settle an asbestos personal injury class action.

In ruling upon defendants’ motions to dismiss, the district court found that defendant medical screeners had disregarded standards set by the American Thoracic Society and reported that workers had asbestos-related “injuries” even thought the radiographic interpretations had no clinical significance.  The court stated that the screening program had produced a “steady flow of faulty claims” and was a “fraud on the court.”[20]  The court thus refused to dismiss Raymark’s claims based on common law fraud and RICO violations.[21]

Owens Corning Fiberglass Bankruptcy Proceedings

The efforts to curtail frivolous asbestos claims also include the motion by Credit Suisse in the Owens Corning bankruptcy for leave to file an adversary complaint against certain physicians who reported chest radiographs as positive for asbestos-related diseases.  This motion was granted conditionally on the agreement of Credit Suisse to indemnify Owens Corning for any potential ensuing liability, but then was withdrawn when Credit Suisse declined to provide such assurance.

[1]  Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).

[2]  In re Silica Products Liab.Litig., 398 F.Supp. 2d 563 (S.D.Tex. 2005) (“In re Silica”).

[3]  In re Silica. at 622 (internal citations and footnote omitted).

[4]  In re Silica, at 622 -23.

[5]  Id.

[6]  Id.

[7]  Id.

[8]  Id.

[9]  In re Silica, at 623-34.

[10]  In re Silica, at 625 – 26.

[11]  Id. at 626 – 27 (internal quotes omitted).

[12]  Id. at 626.

[13]  Id.

[14]  Id. at 627.

[15]  Id. at 629.

[16]  Id. at 629 – 30 (citing Daubert, 509 U.S. at 593-94; Pipitone v. Biomatrix, Inc., 288 F.3d 239, 246 (5th Cir. 2002) (upholding admissibility under Rule 702 when a physician’s “elimination of various alternative causes. . . .were [sic] based on generally accepted diagnostic principles related to these conditions”).

[17]  Id. at 629 – 30.

[18]  Id. at 630 – 32 (coccidioidomycosis is endemic to some parts of the United States and resembles silicosis radiographically).

[19]  Raymark Indus., Inc. v. Stemple, 1990 WL 72588 (D. Kan., May 30, 1990).

[20]  1990 WL 72588 at *2, *8, *18, *22.

[21] See Nathan Schachtman, “Medico-Legal Issues in Occupational Lung Disease Litigation,” 27 Sem. Roentgenology 140 (1992) (discussing Semple in greater detail). It is unclear how Stemple was ultimately resolved.  The court’s docket does not indicate whether this case was dismissed, voluntarily, involuntarily, as a result of settlement, or otherwise.  The clerk of the court reported that this case was sealed under court order.

Legal Remedies for Suspect Medical Science in Products Cases – Part One

June 2nd, 2020

Expert witness opinions about the nature and cause of plaintiffs’ medical conditions, are the linchpin of mass tort cases involving claims of bodily injury from allegedly harmful products.  The quality of these expert witness opinions has long been the subject of debate, but the explosion of products liability cases has brought increasing scrutiny, especially in cases involving asbestos, silica, and pharmaceutical claims.[1]

Courts, Congress, and commentators have raised concerns about the scientific and medical validity of the opinions offered in support of certain product liability claims, whether certain of the individuals who offer such opinions have a proper degree of independence from the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, and whether there is any way to address these questions apart from a rejection of the individual claims in which the bogus opinions are offered.  Famously, Judge Janis Jack of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas addressed these issues in a lengthy decision in which she excoriated physicians, medical screeners, and plaintiffs’ lawyers who she concluded had transgressed basic ground rules of medical and legal propriety in connection with silicosis claims.[2]

The stakes generated by the availability of these medical/technical opinions are especially high in mass torts that involve medical assessments of thousands of claimants.  The pendency of asbestos claims has driven well over 100 companies into bankruptcy, and with that example, any industry facing a substantial wave of repetitive liability claims must be concerned about how to respond to what it believes are false or unfounded claims. Clients ask whether there are remedies for the promotion of false, fraudulent, or just inadequate medical science under the banner of seeking compensation in products liability cases. The answers remain less than clear.

Some Past Attempts to Remedy the Harm from Dubious Science in Products Cases

GAF’s Litigation against the Asbestos Lawsuit Industry

On January 10, 2001, G-I Holdings Inc., the successor to GAF Corporation (“GAF”), filed suit against a group of asbestos personal injury lawyers who it alleged had “orchestrated a scheme to inundate the judicial system with hundreds of thousands of asbestos cases without regard to their merit.”[3] Among the allegations were claims that the plaintiffs’ firms had “suborned perjury and fabricated evidence” and “induced expert witnesses to provide false and misleading testimony, all for the purpose of extracting unwarranted and inflated settlements, judgments and, correspondingly, attorneys’ fees, from GAF and other asbestos defendants.”  The complaint alleged that, in 1978, a group of

“approximately 125 plaintiffs’ asbestos contingency fee attorneys banded together to form and fund the Asbestos Litigation Group (“ALG”) in order to further their scheme of promoting asbestos litigation.”  GAF asserted that “acting jointly through the ALG, and through less formal asbestos-related organizations, defendants, upon information and belief, solicited tens of thousands of asbestos claimants and sued manufacturers without regard for, or in conscious disregard of, the merits of their claims against particular individual defendants such as GAF. . . . .pursuant to agreements with each network [of local counsel] member, a share of the fees . . . .is typically channeled back to the referring ALG member, and ultimately to the ALG, to be invested  in future claimant solicitations, including mailed advertisements in newsletters.  This has resulted in the filing of further claims, thereby continuing the scheme, and increasing the network, which spirals ever larger.”

GAF’s complaint specifically included claims relating to the alleged “fabricat[ion]” of “medical evidence.”  In this regard, GAF alleged, upon information and belief, that the plaintiffs’ lawyers had:[4]

  1. . . . .induced medical “experts” to testify falsely. As set forth in the “Toxic Justice” report, [the plaintiffs’ law firm] paid off what one of the firm’s paralegals described as “whore docs” i.e., doctors who for money eagerly attributed virtually any lung abnormality to asbestos exposure, regardless of what medical evidence actually showed.

And GAF complained that:

  1. . . . . these practices induced false and misleading testimony to be given by expert witnesses in support of claims brought against GAF and others, which resulted in GAF’s payment of inflated verdicts and settlements in a number of cases.

While much of GAF’s complaint did not focus specifically on the quality of the medical evidence, it is nonetheless instructive as an overall perspective on the factual framework within which these medical issues arise. GAF’s complaint understandably focused heavily on defendant’s Baron & Budd’s memorandum, entitled “Preparing for Your Deposition.”  GAF alleged that this

“memorandum, apparently created for use in preparing asbestos plaintiffs for deposition, improperly exhorts witnesses to testify in a pre-scripted manner, regardless of the truth.”

For particularity’s sake, GAF alleged, with extensive quotations from the Baron & Budd memorandum, that the memorandum told

“witnesses to identify only those products listed on the Work History Sheets prepared by Baron & Budd (lest the witness identify the product of a bankrupt entity from whom no damages or attorneys’ fees could be collected). . . .and to memorize the product names provided by Baron & Budd on the “Work History Sheets” and to testify that they actually saw those names on containers where they worked. . . .”[5]

The complaint alleges that the memorandum gave further improper instructions to plaintiffs about their testimony, including directions to omit any mention of exposures resulting “from the replacement or removal of old product that could not be identified by brand”; making false claims of “equal exposure to all products”; denying “that they ever saw any warnings or had knowledge concerning the harmful effects of asbestos.”

GAF alleged a variety of other concerted actions to file false asbestos claims.  These activities allegedly included withholding “from production in discovery death certificates for asbestos claimants that did not support the conclusion that the individual had died as a result of an asbestos-related disease”; conducting “periodic in-house training sessions to teach other attorneys and/or paralegals how to prepare all asbestos claimants to give scripted testimony in their depositions. . . . .without regard for whether or not the testimony was true”; participating in a scheme to falsify Court records to indicate that complaints were filed before the running of the statute of limitations; and submitting affidavits containing false information concerning the identity of products.

The complaint also contained a number of allegations to the effect that the defendant law firms had “used their considerable resources and power in an attempt to intimidate and deter GAF (and others) from exercising their constitutionally protected rights to petition Congress in support of legislation that would establish a fair and efficient administrative facility for resolving legitimate asbestos claims without the years of delay and wasteful fees and transaction costs that are characteristic of the current system.  Defendants have waged a full-scale, multi-front war against those seeking passage of a Congressional bill entitled the “Fairness in Asbestos Compensation Act.”

The suit pled claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”),[6] and under numerous other headings of state, and federal, law.[7]  The lawsuit industry defendants brought a series of motions to dismiss on the pleadings, with successive amended complaints filed, until there was nothing left of GAF’s complaint.[8]  For example, part of the case – relating to the Baron & Budd memorandum discussed above — pleaded fraud based on information and belief.  Judge Sweet dismissed that aspect of the fraud claims on the grounds that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) requires that allegations of fraud be pleaded with specificity and that the plaintiff must provide a statement of facts upon which the belief of the existence of fraud is founded.  Judge Sweet concluded that GAF had repeatedly failed to meet this requirement.

Federal and State Prosecutions against Physicians and Screening Companies

After Judge Jack’s exposé of fraudulent and false diagnoses in the silicosis MDL, various news media reported that the United States Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York was investigating possible criminal charges against the physicians and lawyers who orchestrated the screenings. Historically, there has been little interest among prosecutors in the questionable activities of screening physicians, with some notable exceptions.  In 1990, the United States Attorney’s office, for the Eastern District of Philadelphia, filed a civil RICO against several Philadelphia-area physicians for their role in submitting false and fraudulent Medicare claims.[9]  As pleaded by the government, the fraudulent scheme consisted of soliciting industrial workers for “free” lung screening, at the behest of lawyer clients, for asbestos-related diseases.  The physicians conducted radiologic and pulmonary function examinations, and submitted requests to Medicare for reimbursement of inflated costs for these services and falsely stated that the services were reasonably medically necessary because of diagnoses of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.[10]  This matter appears to have been resolved before trial, although the docket fails to reveal the exact nature of the resolution.

The false claim problem continues, although the silicosis screenings have abated, and most asbestos plaintiffs’ lawyers have shifted their efforts to the high-yield mesothelioma and lung cancer cases, for which diagnostic accuracy is not typically the dominant issue. Some within the lawsuit industry appear to continue the practice of referring clients to friendly physicians for an examination that will form the basis of a lawsuit, with the consulting physician in turn filing a request for reimbursement with the claimant’s private or public health insurer.  For most insurers, such a claim for reimbursement impliedly represents that the services were reasonably medically necessary, and sometimes the services may well be necessary.  At other times, the services are redundant and provided only for purposes of preparing the examining physician to serve as an expert witness.  In a case I tried early in my career, the testifying expert witness first saw the plaintiff two weeks before trial for no purpose other than to serve as a witness.  The plaintiff had a regular treating physician, and had been examined by another testifying witness, but the plaintiff’s lawyer wanted to have a second testifying witness for trial.  The “Saturday-night” expert witness conducted his examination, and then requested reimbursement for the examination from the plaintiff’s health insurer, and indicated the name of the plaintiff’s counsel as the “referring physician” on the insurance forms.  The trial judge remarkably would not permit cross-examination of the testifying expert witness on the fraud, and suggested that such cross-examination was prohibited by the collateral source rule!  The health insurance industry will occasionally act vigilantly to enforce a lien against a tort recovery, but there has been little evidence of civil or criminal litigation arising from the practice of billing insurers for examinations by physicians who are essentially expert witnesses and not treating physicians.

The Pennsylvania Silicosis Litigation Cock Up

In February 2002, Texas invaded Pennsylvania. No conventional weapons were fired. The Texans took up positions in mobile vans in motel parking lots across eastern Pennsylvania. Without prescriptions, physicians’ orders, or regulatory approval, the Texans directed unlawful X-ray radiation at Pennsylvania workers in the hopes of creating evidence to be used in lawsuits for silicosis. To help establish their litigation beachhead, the Texans hired local mercenaries – a New Jersey company in the business of providing mobile X-ray screenings. Dozens of silicosis lawsuits were created and filed in Philadelphia as a result of the invasion.

On January 25, 2007, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, through its Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), responded by fining the New Jersey company, MOST Health Services, Inc. The DEP found that MOST violated Pennsylvania law by conducting X-ray screenings without physician or regulatory approval. For having unlawfully exposed 161 persons to ionizing radiation, DEP assessed a civil penalty of $80,500.00, against MOST. The DEP did not charge the plaintiffs’ lawyers with any violation of Commonwealth regulations.

MOST’s participation in unlawful litigation screenings was not a momentary lapse in judgment. Back in 2000, defense counsel in asbestos cases compelled the testimony of MOST principal Kenneth Warner, who acknowledged then that MOST had not been in the practice of complying with screening regulations. Mr. Warner, however, claimed that the company was in the process of filing appropriate applications to comply.

Workers were invited to the February 2002 MOST screenings by their unions, but the invitation letters were written by Texas lawyers. To participate in the screenings, the workers had to sign a retainer agreement to engage the Texas-based law firm. The workers were told that “legal ethics” required that they hire the sponsoring law firm to represent them before “the attorneys can provide [them] with medical tests.”

Of course, the law in no state permits attorneys to provide medical tests, and especially not X-rays. DEP, like most other states’ regulatory agencies, has promulgated comprehensive regulations that govern virtually every aspect of the use of medical radiation. In Pennsylvania, anyone proposing a “healing arts screening” with X-rays must submit, in advance, a comprehensive, written proposal with details of the proposed screening, the description of the population to be examined, the qualifications of the radiation technician and operator, the quality control to be used, the qualifications of the supervising physician, and the identity and qualifications of the physician who will interpret the radiographs.

The MOST screenings, commissioned by the Texas lawyers, were never authorized by the DEP. No physician was present on site. None of the workers presented prescriptions or physicians’ orders before being unlawfully exposed to radiation. The identity of the physician slated to receive the chest radiographs was never disclosed to DEP.

Ultimately, the films created by MOST were sent to a West Virginia physician, well known and well compensated in dust-disease litigation. This off-site physician diagnosed virtually all of the workers with either asbestosis or silicosis, and a majority of litigants with both asbestosis and silicosis, although he never examined the workers, never interviewed them, and never reviewed their medical records.

In December 2005, the defendants in the silicosis cases that arose from the MOST screenings moved to dismiss on grounds that the claims were the direct result of unlawful activities that violated Pennsylvania public policy. The trial court denied the motion without opinion. Despite the obvious conspiracy between the plaintiffs’ lawyers and MOST to violate Pennsylvania health regulations, no disciplinary actions were brought against the plaintiffs’ lawyers in the cases.

The Pennsylvania fine against MOST seems to have been an exceptional finding. Although the predatory screening practices decried in federal Judge Janis Graham Jack’s now judicial opinion, In re Silica Products Liability Litigation, no other states to my knowledge have taken action against the conspiracies among lawyers, physicians, and mobile screening companies, to violate state health regulations. These conspiracies thrived for some time, in part because of the entrepreneurial enthusiasm of the conspirators, and the failure of courts, bar associations, adversary counsel, state and federal regulators, and medical societies to condemn the screening practices. In the context of silicosis litigation, the “red flags of fraud,” go beyond the manufacturing of diagnoses for money; they mark as dubious the entire enterprise of suing sand suppliers for failure to warn about hazards that were well known to government, industry, labor, and academia from the 1930s, forward.

[1]  The following commentary flows from a joint project that the late R. Nicholas (Nick) Gimbel and I worked on some years ago. Nick’s illness and tragic death prevented us from publishing this work, but I believe it still bears some sort of public airing. Nick Gimbel and I presented some of this commentary in a paper, “Legal Remedies to Address Suspect Medical Science in Product Liability Cases,” for Mealey’s Advanced Insurance Coverage Conference, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Jan. 23, 2006).

[2]  In re Silica Products Liability Litigation, 398 F.Supp. 2d 563 (S.D.Tex. 2005) (“In re Silica”). Although Judge Jack’s deconstruction of the silicosis “epidemic” is famous among defense counsel, Her Honor’s work has been met with willful ignorance by the lawsuit industry. See, e.g., David Michaels, “Deadly Dust,” chap. 8, in The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception (2020) (exhibiting amnesia about one of the largest litigation frauds in the 21st century, so far.)

[3]  For a more complete, scholarly exposition of this case, see Lester Brickman, “Civil RICO: An Effective Deterrent to Fraudulent Asbestos Litigation?” 40 Cardozo L. Rev. 2301, 2344-2402 (2019).

[4]  Fourth Amended Complaint dated August 19, 2002.

[5]  Fourth Amended Complaint, ¶ 61.

[6]   18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq.

[7]  Other claims in the GAF complaint asserted tortious interference with contract and economic advantage, breach of contract, common law fraud and falsification of documents.  Claims that were dismissed include malicious interference with GAF’s right to petition Congress, violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1 (antitrust laws) and fraudulent inducement.

[8]  See G-I Holdings, Inc. v. Baron & Budd, No. 01-Civ. 0216, 2005 WL 1653623 (S.D.N.Y.); G-I Holdings, Inc. v. Baron & Budd, No. 01-Civ. 0216, 2004 WL 638141 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2004);  G-I Holdings, Inc. v. Baron & Budd, 2004 WL 540456 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 17, 2004); G-I Holdings, Inc. v. Baron & Budd, 2004 WL 374450 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 27, 2004); G-I Holdings, Inc. v. Baron & Budd, 218 F.R.D. 409 (S.D.N.Y. 2003); G-I Holdings, Inc. v. Baron & Budd, 213 F.R.D. 146 (S.D.N.Y. 2003); G-I Holdings, Inc. v. Baron & Budd, 01 Civ. 0216, 2002 WL 31251702 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 8, 2002); G-I Holdings, Inc. v. Baron & Budd, 238 F.Supp.2d 521 (S.D.N.Y. 2002); and G-I Holdings, Inc. v. Baron & Budd, 179 F.Supp.2d 233 (S.D.N.Y. 2001).

[9]  U.S. v. MRS Diagnostics, Inc., Civil Action No. 90-3517 (E.D.Pa. May 23, 1990), Complaint.

[10]  Id. at Complaint para. 1(a)-(i).

History of Silicosis Litigation

January 31st, 2019

“Now, Silicosis, you’re a dirty robber and a thief;
Yes, silicosis, you’re a dirty robber and a thief;
Robbed me of my right to live,
and all you brought poor me is grief.
I was there diggin’ that tunnel for just six bits a day;
I was diggin’ that tunnel for just six bits a day;
Didn’t know I was diggin’ my own grave,
Silicosis was eatin’ my lungs away.”

Josh White, “Silicosis Is Killin’ Me (Silicosis Blues)” (1936)

Recently, David Rosner, labor historian, social justice warrior, and expert witness for the litigation industry, gave the Fielding H. Garrison Lecture, in which he argued for the importance of the work that he and his comrade-in-arms, Gerald Markowitz, have done as historian expert witnesses in tort cases.1 Although I am of course grateful for the shout out that Professor Rosner gives me,2 I am still obligated to call him on the short-comings of his account of silicosis litigation.3 Under the rubric of “the contentious struggle to define disease,” Rosner presents a tendentious account of silicosis litigation, which is highly misleading, for what it says, and in particular, for it omits.

For Rosner’s self-congratulatory view of his own role in silicosis litigation to make sense, we must imagine a counterfactual world that is the center piece of his historical narrative in which silicosis remains the scourge of the American worker, and manufacturing industry is engaged in a perpetual cover up.

Rosner’s fabulistic account of silicosis litigation and his role in it falls apart under even mild scrutiny. The hazards of silica exposure were known to Josh White and the entire country in 1936. Some silicosis litigation arose in the 1930s against employers, but plaintiffs were clearly hampered by tort doctrines of assumption of risk, contributory negligence, the fellow-servant rule. To my knowledge, there were no litigation claims against remote suppliers of silica before the late 1970s, when courts started to experiment with hyperstrict liability rules.

Eventually, the litigation industry, buoyed by its successes against asbestos-product manufacturers turned their attention to silica sand suppliers to foundries and other industrial users. Liability claims against remote suppliers of a natural raw material such as silica sand, however, made no sense in terms of the rationales of tort law. There was no disparity of information between customer and supplier; the customer, plaintiffs’ employer was not only the cheapest and most efficient cost and risk avoider, the employer was the only party that could control the risk. Workers and their unions were well aware of the hazards of working in uncontrolled silica-laden workplaces.

Although employer compliance with safety and health regulations for silica exposure has never been perfect, the problem of rampant acute silicosis, such as what afflicted the tunnel workers memorialized by Josh White, is a thing of the past in the United States. The control of silica exposures and the elimination of silicosis are rightly claimed to be one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century. See Centers Disease Control, “Ten Great Public Health Achievements — United States, 1900-1999,” 48 Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report 241 (April 02, 1999).

Interestingly, after World War II, silicosis has been a much greater problem in the communist countries, such as China, the countries that made up the Soviet Union. Rosner and Markowitz, however, like the leftist intellectuals of the 1950s who could not bring themselves to criticize Stalin, seem blind to the sorry state of workplace safety in communist countries. Their blindness vitiates their historical project, which attempts to reduce occupational diseases and other workplace hazards to the excesses of corporate capitalism. A fair comparison with non-capitalist systems would reveal that silicosis results from many motives and conditions, including inattention, apathy, carelessness, concern with productivity, party goals, and labor-management rivalries. In the case of silicosis, ignorance of the hazards of silica is the least likely explanation for silicosis cases arising out of workplace exposures after the mid-1930s.

In the United States, silicosis litigation has been infused with fraud and deception, not by the defendants, but by the litigation industry that creates lawsuits. Absent from Rosner’s historical narratives is any mention of the frauds that have led to dismissals of thousands of cases, and the professional defrocking of any number of physician witnesses.  In re Silica Products Liab. Litig., MDL No. 1553, 398 F.Supp. 2d 563 (S.D.Tex. 2005).

Nor does Rosner deign to discuss the ethical and legal breaches committed by the plaintiffs’ counsel in conducting radiographic screenings of workers, in the hopes of creating lawsuits. With the help of unscrupulous physicians, these screenings were unnaturally successful not only in detecting silicosis that did not exist, but in some cases, in transmuting real asbestosis into silicosis.4

Many silicosis cases in recent times were accompanied by more subtle frauds, which turned on the “failure-to-warn” rhetoric implicit in the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A. Consider the outbreak of silicosis litigation in western Pennsylvania, in the mid-1980s. Many of the men who claimed to have silicosis had significant silica exposure at the Bethlehem and U.S. Steel foundries in the Johnstown areas. Some of the claimants actually had simple silicosis, although discovery of these claimants’ workplace records revealed that they had been non-compliant with workplace safety rules.

The Johnstown, Cambria County, cases were not the result of unlawful medical screenings, paid for by plaintiffs’ lawyers and conducted by physicians of dubious integrity and medical acumen. Instead, the plaintiffs’ lawyers found their claimants as a result of the claimants’ having had previous workers’ compensation claims for silicosis, which resulted after the workers were diagnosed by employer medical screening programs.

Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg, PA (venue for an outbreak of silicosis litigation in the 1980s and early 1990s5)

The first of the foundrymen’s cases was set for trial in 1989, 30 years ago, in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. The silica cases were on the docket of the President Judge, the Hon. Joseph O’Kicki, who turned out to be less than honorable. Just before the first silica trial, Judge O’Kicki was arrested on charges of corruption, as well as lewdness (for calling in his female staff while lounging in chambers in his panties).

As a result of O’Kicki’s arrest, the only Cambria Country trial we saw in 1989 was the criminal trial of Judge O’Kicki, in Northampton County. In April 1989, a jury found O’Kicki guilty of bribery and corruption, although it acquitted him on charges of lewdness.6 Facing a sentence of over 25 years, and a second trial on additional charges, O’Kicki returned to the land of his forebears, Slovenia, where he lived out his days and contributed to the surplus population.7

Whatever schadenfreude experienced by the defendants in the Cambria County silicosis litigation was quickly dispelled by the assignment of the silica cases to the Hon. Eugene Creany, who proved to be an active partisan for the plaintiffs’ cause. Faced with a large backlog of cases created by the rapacious filings of the Pittsburgh plaintiffs’ lawfirms, and Judge O’Kicki’s furlough from judicial service, Judge Creany devised various abridgements of due process, the first of which was to consolidate cases. As a result, the first case up in 1990 was actually three individual cases “clustered” for a single jury trial: Harmotta, Phillips, and Peterson.8 To poke due process in both eyes, Judge Creany made sure that one of the “clustered” cases was a death case (Peterson).

Jury selection started in earnest on April 2, 1990, with opening statements set for April 4. In between, the defense made the first of its many motions for mistrial, when defense lawyers observed one of the plaintiffs, Mr. Phillips, having breakfast with some of the jurors in the courthouse cafeteria. Judge Creany did not seem to think that this pre-game confabulation was exceptional, and admonished the defense that folks in Cambria County are just friendly, but they are fair. Trial slogged on for four weeks, with new abridgments of due process almost every day, such as forcing defendants, with adverse interests and positions, into having one direct- and one cross-examination of each witness. The last motion for mistrial was provoked by Judge Creany’s walking into the jury room during its deliberations, to deliver doughnuts.

At the end of the day, in May 1990, the jury proved to be much fairer than the trial judge. Judge Creany instructed the jury that “silica was the defect,” and on other novel points of law. Led by its foreman, a union organizer for the United Mine Workers, the jury returned a defense verdict in the Peterson case, which involved a claim that Mr. Peterson’s heart attack death case was caused by his underlying silicosis. In the two living plaintiffs’ cases, the jury found that the men had knowingly assumed the risk of silicosis, but at the judge’s insistence, the jury proceeded to address defendants’ liability, and to assess damages, in the amount of $22,500, in the two cases.

Pennsylvania’s appellate courts took a dim view of plaintiffs’ efforts to hold remote silica suppliers responsible for silicosis arising out of employment by large, sophisticated steel manufacturers. The Superior Court, Pennsylvania’s intermediate appellate court, reversed and remanded both plaintiffs’ verdicts. In Mr. Harmotta’s case, the court held that his action was collaterally estopped by a previous workman’s compensation judge’s finding that he did not have silicosis. In Mr. Phillip’s case, the court addressed the ultimate issue, whether a remote supplier to a sophisticated intermediary can be liable for silicosis that resulted from the intermediary’s employment and use of the supplied raw material. In what was a typical factual scenario of supply of silica to foundry employers, the Superior Court held that there was no strict or negligence liability for the employees’ silicosis.9 The Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to hear Harmotta’s appeal on collateral estoppels, but heard an appeal in Phillips’ case. The Supreme Court pulled back from the sophisticated intermediary rationale for reversal, and placed its holding instead on the obvious lack of proximate cause between the alleged failure to warn and the claimed harm, given the jury’s special finding of assumed risk.10

One of plaintiffs’ counsel’s principal arguments, aimed at the union organizer on the jury, was that even if a warning to the individual plaintiffs might not have changed their behavior, a warning to the union would have been effective. The case law involving claims against unions for failing to warn have largely exculpated unions and taken them out of the warning loop. Given this case law, plaintiffs’ argument was puzzling, but the puzzlement turned to outrage when we learned after the first trial that Judge Creany had been a union solicitor, in which role, he had regularly written to U.S. Steel in Johnstown, to notify the employer when one of the local union members had been diagnosed with silicosis.

The next natural step seemed to list Judge Creany as a percipient fact witness to the pervasive knowledge of silicosis among the workforce and especially among the union leadership. Judge Creany did not take kindly to being listed as a fact witness, or being identified in voire dire as a potential witness. Still, the big lie about failure to warn and worker and labor union ignorance had been uncovered. Judge Creany started to delegate trials to other judges in the courthouse and to bring judges in from neighboring counties. The defense went on win the next dozen or so cases, before the plaintiffs’ lawyers gave up on their misbegotten enterprise of trying to use Pennsylvania’s hyperstrict liability rules to make remote silica suppliers pay for the fault of workers and their employers.

You won’t find any mention of the Cambria County saga in Rosner or Markowitz’s glorified accounts of silicosis litigation. The widespread unlawful screenings, the “double dipping” by asbestos claimants seeking a second paycheck for fabricated silicosis, the manufactured diagnoses and product identification do not rent space in Rosner and Markowitz’s fantastical histories.

2 See, e.g., Nathan A. Schachtman, “On Deadly Dust and Histrionic Historians: Preliminary Thoughts on History and Historians as Expert Witnesses,” 2 Mealey’s Silica Litigation Report Silica 1, 2 (November 2003); Nathan Schachtman & John Ulizio, “Courting Clio:  Historians and Their Testimony in Products Liability Action,” in: Brian Dolan & Paul Blanc, eds., At Work in the World: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on the History of Occupational and Environmental Health, Perspectives in Medical Humanities, University of California Medical Humanities Consortium, University of California Press (2012); Schachtman, “On Deadly Dust & Histrionic Historians 041904,”; How Testifying Historians Are Like Lawn-Mowing Dogs” (May 15, 2010)A Walk on the Wild Side (July 16, 2010); Counter Narratives for Hire (Dec. 13, 2010); Historians Noir (Nov. 18, 2014); Succès de scandale – With Thanks to Rosner & Markowitz” (Mar. 26, 2017). And of course, I have experienced some schadenfreude for when one of the Pink Panthers was excluded in a case in which he was disclosed as a testifying expert witness. Quester v. B.F. Goodrich Co., Case No. 03-509539, Court of Common Pleas for Cuyahoga Cty., Ohio, Order Sur Motion to Exclude Dr. Gerald Markowitz (Sweeney, J.).

3 “Trying Times” is the sixth Rosnowitz publication to point to me as a source of criticism of the Rosner-Markowitz radical leftist history of silicosis in the United States. See David Rosner, “Trying Times: The Courts, the Historian, and the Contentious Struggle to Define Disease,” 91 Bull. History Med. 473, 491-92 & n.32 (2017); Previously, Rosner and Markowitz have attempted to call me out in four published articles and one book. See D. Rosner & G. Markowitz, “The Trials and Tribulations of Two Historians:  Adjudicating Responsibility for Pollution and Personal Harm, 53 Medical History 271, 280-81 (2009); D. Rosner & G. Markowitz, “L’histoire au prétoire.  Deux historiens dans les procès des maladies professionnelles et environnementales,” 56 Revue  D’Histoire Moderne & Contemporaine 227, 238-39 (2009); David Rosner, “Trials and Tribulations:  What Happens When Historians Enter the Courtroom,” 72 Law & Contemporary Problems 137, 152 (2009); David Rosner & Gerald Markowitz, “The Historians of Industry” Academe (Nov. 2010); and Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner, Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution at 313-14 (U. Calif. rev. ed. 2013). 

4 Nathan A. Schachtman, “State Regulators Impose Sanction Unlawful Screenings 05-25-07,” Washington Legal Foundation Legal Opinion Letter, vol. 17, no. 13 (May 2007); “Silica Litigation – Screening, Scheming, and Suing,” Washington Legal Foundation Critical Legal Issues Working Paper (December 2005); Medico-Legal Issues in Occupational Lung Disease Litigation,” 27 Seminars in Roentgenology140 (1992).

5 by Publichall – own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

6 Assoc’d Press, “Pennsylvania County Judge Guilty of Corruption,” (April 18, 1989).

7 U.P.I., “Facing Prison, Convicted Judge Skips Bail,” (Mar. 8, 1993); “Judge O’kicki Declared Fugitive; May Be In Slovenia,” The Morning Call (April 20, 1993).

8 Harmotta v. Walter C. Best, Inc., Cambria Cty. Ct. C.P. No. 1986-128; Phillips v. Walter C. Best, Inc., Cambria Cty. Ct. C.P. No. 1987-434(b)(10); Peterson v. Walter C. Best, Inc., Cambria Cty. Ct. C.P. No. 1986-678.

9 Phillips v. A.P. Green Co., 428 Pa. Super. 167, 630 A.2d 874 (1993).

10 Phillips v. A-Best Products Co., 542 Pa. 124, 665 A.2d 1167 (1995).