Letters: Asbestos companies the real culprits – The Advocate

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I feel compelled to respond to the letter recently published entitled “Stop fraud on asbestos claims.” I have been handling asbestos claims in Louisiana for over 40 years. I tried the first asbestos disease case ever tried in the federal court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The Gertler Law Firm continues to handle these claims. In other words, I am very familiar with the history of asbestos claims both in court and through bankruptcy trusts.

I do not know what experience the author of the published letter had with asbestos claims but he obviously didn’t know the history of bankruptcies and trust funds. Asbestos companies went into bankruptcy to protect themselves from further liability after it was proven that they and their executives continued to sell asbestos products long after they became aware of the dangers. These bankruptcies established trusts that agreed to pay qualified claimants with proof of exposure. Unfortunately the payments have amounted to pennies on the dollar, far less than these claimants deserve.

Louisiana’s junior U.S. Senator John Kennedy has only been in office a few months, but he al…

The real crime regarding these bankruptcies is that they protected the companies from further payments, prevented trials by judges and jurors and saved the executives from going to jail. I don’t know how many so called fraudulent bankruptcy claims really have been filed because the author doesn’t give any statistics. Unfortunately, it seems that this legislation is simply another hurdle in the path of the legitimate claimants. But, no matter how many fraudulent claims there may theoretically be, they pale in comparison to the fraud that the asbestos companies perpetrated on the asbestos workers and veterans over the many years that they manufactured and sold these perilous products.

Mike H. Gertler

attorney

New Orleans

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