6 TortSource 1 (2003-2004)

handle is hein.journals/tortso6 and id is 1 raw text is: Vol. 6, No. 1
Fall 2003

Publo n  t T    ortAmerican Bar Association 
Publication of the Tor-t Trial and Insurance Practice Section

A New Frontier for Mass Tort

Asbestos Defense:
Science and Medicine Are Your Friends
Jeff Wolf
on't blink, because things are changing that quickly in asbestos litigation. Although
Senator Orin Hatch's proposal to set up a $108 billion-settlement trust fund is getting the
most publicity (see Legislative Update, Tort Source (Spring 2003)), important scientific
developments are occurring that will prove useful to the defense practitioner as we all
continue to wait for a legislative solution to the asbestos nightmare that still may be a long
time in coming.
There are two factors driving change in how cases can be defended. The first is the mount-
mg evidence that the most commonly used asbestos fiber, chrysotile, has little potential to
cause mesothelioma; the second is the bankruptcy of more than 67 target companies that
buckled under the weight of nearly 20 years of asbestos litigation. The reverberations from
both these factors have created a new playing field where the defense focus is not limited to
the credibility of product identification but also includes a persuasive presentation of science
and medicine to bolster increasingly strong liability and causation defenses.
continued on page 6

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