Outrageous Misconduct: The Asbestos Industry on Trial
A book based upon a four-part series of articles that first appeared in The New Yorker, and won the Association of Trial Lawyers of America Special Literary-Public Service Award.
This carefully documented expose is an invaluable sourcebook not only for lawyers but for lay readers as well. As Brodeur, a New Yorker writer whose books include The Zapping of America and Expendable Americans, shows, media coverage of the disasters caused by asbestosis has traditionally been minimal. He pursues the behind-the-scenes efforts by key U.S. asbestos firms over some 50 years to challenge their liability for numbers of asbestos-workers' deaths. The legal intricacies presented by Brodeur may prove confusing to some readers, but they will, nonetheless, find his case histories compelling and devastating. The author often focuses on the Mansville Company (formerly Johns-Mansville). Yet the evidence he introduces involves the industry at large: a trail of cover-ups going back to the 1930s, through Borel v. Fioreboardstyle in 1971 and the avalanche of lawsuits that case spawned, leading to Mansville's bankruptcy filing in 1982a move Brodeur interprets as connected to an industry-wide drive "to escape the full measure of its liability for the horror of asbestos disease."–Publishers Weekly
I envy the people who are about to read this story and be charged with its lessons for preventing future waves of silent violence that come from callous industry.
The Johns-Manville Company shocked the legal world in 1982 when it filed for bankruptcy to protect itself from claims by victims of asbestos-related illness. True to this book's subtitle, Brodeur deals extensively with the litigation as pects of asbestos companies defending themselves both before and after Manville's bombshell. Here we have plaintiffs' discovery of coverups and the industry's strategies for delay and mitigation of losses. The insurance industry, standing to lose billions, is another player in the melodrama. Also included is background on recently published proposals for restructuring Manville to assure future payments to claimants. The scene is predominately in the courtroom and environs, and little is heard from the victims or their families. Thus, the book may appeal most to potential litigants and their attorneys.–Library Journal