Mass tort litigation is a complex mire of facts, legalities and unpredictable outcomes at the best of times. That’s why choosing the right attorney is so crucial for any potential mass tort Plaintiff.
Unfortunately, there are a number of firms and attorneys whose trial practices cast serious doubt as to their knowledge, skill, and, perhaps most important of all, integrity in and out of the courtroom. A potential mass tort plaintiff may have a very legitimate claim against a major corporation known for exposing people to toxic substances. But those claims can easily be thrown out of court on mere technicalities…technicalities which an experienced, prepared and ethical attorney would never allow to arise.
Case in Point
In a recent Legal Newsline article, Judge Arthur Recht of West Virginia’s Ohio County Circuit Court commented on some of the bizarre protocols he witnessed in his courtroom during six years of asbestos litigation against CSX Transportation.
The Plaintiffs’ attorneys brought in evidence and witness testimony that was spurious at best, and perjurious at worst. For example, one testifying witness – a radiologist – based numerous different individuals’ claims off of a SINGLE x-ray. And one plaintiff was allowed to submit into evidence forged medical records, “signed” by a doctor who did not even exist. It is an attorney’s responsibility to fact-check every document, and to speak in depth to every potential witness, before any information derived there-from is put before the court.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys in the CSX Transportation case were also sloppy and unprofessional in their handling of certain key procedural matters. For instance, they failed to obtain client signatures on statements required to show the clients understood their claims and intended to pursue them. They also allowed many of their clients’ cases to be dismissed with prejudice, which means those Plaintiffs can never again bring a lawsuit for these particular claims, regardless of the shoddy law practices of their attorneys.
How the Cases Should Have Been Handled
An attorney’s role is to be their client’s zealous advocate. This is especially crucial when representing Plaintiffs who have suffered injury due to exposure to toxic substances. These plaintiffs need someone who will listen to their every thought, conjecture and fear. The attorney must represent each of these issues to the best advantage of the client in court.
A good mass tort plaintiff’s attorney will synthesize their client’s words into a coherent, structured and winnable legal strategy. Corners should not be cut during any phase of the litigation. If you have suffered from exposure to a toxic substance, you need an attorney who not only knows the law, and who has an impressive track record to show for it, but one who has the integrity to give your legitimate case its full potential to succeed.
Childers, Schlueter & Smith is proud to be a firm with the experience, dedication and attention to detail that offers our clients the best possible outcomes for their claims. If you have been seriously injured because of toxic exposure, contact our office for a free consultation and case evaluation.