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He Fought the Tort Bar -- and the Rule of Law Won

Every once in a while an injustice of extreme proportions is vanquished in our legal system, thanks to idealistic lawyers and courageous judges. From macro issues such as the fight against racial segregation to micro issues like the acquittal of the PC-defying Duke Lacrosse students and the exposure of their outlaw prosecutor, such instances remind American jurists of the majesty of this system.

Today's Wall Street Journal has an editorial describing a recent, if little-known, triumph of precisely this order. It is a portrait of Tom Ulzio, CEO of U.S. Silica, and of United States District Judge Janis Jack. It reminds us how they, spurred on by determined and talented attorneys, uncovered and destroyed a massive fraudulent scheme (a criminal enterprise, perhaps?) by a small number of despicable plaintiffs' lawyers in search of the "new asbestos." Those plaintiffs' lawyers decided to destroy the silica industry, and fabricated thousands of bogus claims against it.

Ulzio, "the son of a Pennsylvania steel worker, is blunt-spoken, works in a little-noticed industry, and likes to point out he's a Democrat ("probably the only one in the building.") What a cursory observation of Mr. Ulizio misses is his own law degree, and his steely sense of right and wrong." Read this inspiring editorial and remember (or discover, as the case may be) how a relatively small number of lawyers, executives and judges preserved the Rule of Law. From 20,000 lawsuits in 2003 to one claim so far this year -- this CEO saved his company and helped save American law.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.