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37 Sw. U. L. Rev. 511 (2008)
Selected Ethical Issues in Asbestos Litigation

handle is hein.journals/swulr37 and id is 517 raw text is: SELECTED ETHICAL ISSUES IN ASBESTOS
Helen E. Freedman*
When Justice Souter wrote the elephantine mass of asbestos cases
defies customary judicial administration and calls for national legislation,1
that cry, despite the valiant attempts of a number of United States Senators,
did not resonate with sufficient force. Thus, the Courts were left to deal
with the mass or mess that has become the longest running mass tort thus
Interestingly, the number of asbestos claims filed against any
individual company is not the largest in the mass tort claim area. In the
Diet Drug cases alone, at least 100,000 claims were filed against a single
company, Wyeth.2 In the Dalkon Shield Bankruptcy Court, there were well
over 350,000 claimants against A.H. Robins, under the supervision of the
Bankruptcy    Court.3    While those cases, and others involving heavily
* Justice Helen E. Freedman was appointed by Governor Paterson to the Appellate
Division of the New York State Supreme Court in July 2008. Prior to her appointment, she was a
state court trial judge since 1979. She managed all of the New York City (downstate) asbestos
cases from 1987 to 2008. She also managed other mass torts on a statewide basis and has been
designated Presiding Judge of the Litigation Coordinating Panel for Multi-District Litigation in
New York State (the New York State equivalent of the Judicial Panel on Multi-District
Litigation). Justice Freedman teaches Mass Torts at New York Law School and has lectured at
Judges' Seminars, CLE Programs, and law schools on trial and appellate practice, mass torts, the
use of ADR in public disputes, and medical-legal issues. She is the author of New York
Objections, a book on trial practice and the making of objections, and of articles on mass torts,
medical malpractice, and small claims.
1. Ortiz v. Fibreboard Corp., 527 U.S. 815, 821 (1999) (reversing the Fifth Circuit's
decision that upheld class certification of asbestos cases for settlement purposes based on FRE 23
2. See In re Diet Drugs (Phentermine, Fen-Fluramine, Dexfenfluramine) Prods. Liab. Litig.,
No. CIV. A. 98-20626, 1999 WL 673066 (E.D. Pa., Aug. 6, 1999); See also Wyeth Backs Diet
Drug Deal Changes, L.A. TIMES, Jan. 11, 2005.
3. Georgene M. Vairo, The Dalkon Shield Claimants Trust: Paradigm Lost (or Found)?, 61
FORDHAM L. REv. 617, 658 (1992).

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