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Rand Corp. on asbestos

Last month's major Rand Corporation report on asbestos litigation estimated that of the $70 billion spent on asbestos compensation by defendants and insurers claimants have received 42 cents on the dollar, defense costs have absorbed 31 cents and plaintiff's attorneys and related costs have taken 27 cents (per Mark Hofmann's account in Business Insurance). A link to the study is here. The Birmingham, Ala. News reports on the fate of Rock Wool Manufacturing, a local mineral-wool insulation company which for 12 years incorporated 1/2 of one percent asbestos as an ingredient in an insulating cement, and thanks to the magic of "product identification" found itself a defendant in "more than 140,000 lawsuits by the mid-1990s": "We had almost one lawsuit for every bag we sold," said George Cusick, son of the company's former owner. Be sure to follow the jump and read the article's second page, which makes it more understandable why an editorial in the recently launched newspaper, the Washington Examiner, calls the asbestos litigation "a hideous abuse of civil law" which "must be stopped".



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.