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No Way To Treat A Judge  

Jump to full article: Forbes, 2007-01-19
Author: Daniel Fisher

Intro:

An Ohio judge has removed the prominent Novato, Calif. law firm of Brayton Purcell from an asbestos lawsuit against Lorillard Tobacco, saying the firm made “patently false” statements about filings it made with bankruptcy trusts and evidence in the case.

The judge’s action on Thursday comes a few weeks after Brayton Purcell withdrew from the lawsuit by the heirs of Harry Kananian, a World War II veteran who died of mesothelioma, a cancer usually attributed to asbestos. The judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit against Lorillard, a Loews (nyse: CG - news - people ) unit, saying it would be unfair to the plaintiffs since they did nothing wrong.

The suit illustrates a pattern defense lawyers have complained bitterly about, in which plaintiffs first tap trusts set up by bankrupt asbestos manufacturers, then pursue solvent companies without disclosing prior payments. Lorillard is a frequent target because it manufactured cigarettes with asbestos-containing filters for a few years in the early 1950s. Brayton Purcell lawyer Chris Andreas is one of the few attorneys to have won such a suit against Lorillard.

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