1 54 Economic Aspects of Mesothelioma Joyce A. Lagnese The economic aspects of mesothelioma may be summed up in one word: enormous. These impacts over the past few decades and into the foreseeable future may be measured in many billions of dollars, which represents a major transfer of wealth in our economy. These economic aspects have resulted in the creation and destruction of entire industries, and the impact has been felt by many people and throughout wide sectors of society. The most immediate impact is on the victims and their families, who have been forced to cope with the devastating effects of the disease. The best documented impact is the costs associated with asbestos litigation. Asbestos has been the most litigated mass tort in American history. It has been variously referred to as an elephantine mess (1) and a disaster of major proportions to both the victims and producers of asbestos products (2, p. 2). The abatement of asbestos in buildings has also had a major impact on American society. The economic dislocation caused by bankruptcy has also been significant. Although mesothelioma affects people worldwide, this chapter focuses on its impact in the United States. Relationship of Mesothelioma to Asbestos in General The economic aspects of mesothelioma are often difficult to separate from the economic aspects of asbestos in general. Mesothelioma has conventionally been thought of in the law as a signature disease caused exclusively by exposure to asbestos (3). Yet other diseases, such as asbestosis and certain forms of other cancers, are also recognized as resulting from or associated with asbestos exposure. This makes it difficult to utilize conventional measuring techniques to isolate economic aspects unique to mesothelioma. Where this isolation is possible, the information is presented below. In general, however, the economic impact of mesothelioma must often be roughly extrapolated from information relating to asbestos generally. 821
2 822 Chapter 54 Economic Aspects of Mesothelioma Economic Value of Asbestos Litigation Asbestos litigation involves huge amounts of money. So far, defendant companies have paid approximately $54 billion in claims and related costs, and estimates for future liability have ranged from $145 billion to $210 billion (4, p. vi). Some of the more extreme examples of verdicts in asbestos cases include the following: $55 million in one case (later reduced to $2.75 million) (5) $150 million to five workers, including $60 million in punitive damages (4, p. 59) $150 million to six workers with asbestos claims (the local media reported that none of the six plaintiffs had actually developed asbestosis or mesothelioma) (4, p. 59) Although the percentage of mesothelioma cases is small (approximately 3%) compared to the total of asbestos cases, mesothelioma cases play a very prominent role in asbestos litigation and represent roughly 17% of the allocation of compensation. A mesothelioma case is generally regarded as of very high economic value. The average plaintiff in a mesothelioma case currently receives a verdict in excess of $6 million. When this is multiplied by the number of pending mesothelioma cases, the amount is phenomenal. Compensation for mesothelioma claims has also been rising sharply in recent years. The values of mesothelioma cases are often the drivers for increasing the economic impact of asbestos litigation in general. This phenomenon has a ripple effect throughout the various features of asbestos litigation. History of Asbestos Litigation Asbestos litigation began in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the wake of the seminal studies of Selikoff of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, establishing a link between asbestos exposure and disease. Most of the early claimants were insulators and other asbestos workers who brought product liability suits against asbestos product manufacturers. These suits were aided by documents suggesting that certain defendants suppressed information relating to the dangers of asbestos. Perhaps the most prominent defendant in the early years was the Johns-Manville Corp., a leading manufacturer of insulation materials. The litigation continued throughout the next three decades involving an ever-expanding network of plaintiffs and defendants. Damages awards became higher. Many defendants could no longer stand the financial strain. Johns-Manville declared bankruptcy in By 2002, it was joined in bankruptcy by over 59 other defendants (4, p. 71). The list of corporate bankruptcies includes such well-known names as W.R. Grace & Co., Babcox & Wilcox, Pittsburgh Corning Corp., Owens Corning Corp., and Armstrong World Industries. Some commentators had predicted that the pool of plaintiffs would decrease at the turn of
3 J.A. Lagnese 823 the century since most asbestos-containing products were removed from the market in the 1970s. Yet the litigation proceeds unabated. No accurate prognosis or end is in sight. Sources of Compensation Every dollar attributable to mesothelioma travels a very tortuous path. Substantial payments for asbestos disease come from various private or governmental benefits programs. The most documented asbestos payments are those that come from personal injury claims. When these claims first began to accumulate and were submitted for insurance coverage, a series of disputes arose between policyholders and insurers over the extent of such coverage. One of the major issues involved the time period when coverage was triggered : when the disease was created or when it was manifested? Given the long latency periods, this question put many years of coverage in controversy, with enormous economic consequences. These types of issues spawned a decade of litigation. The cases were decided mostly in favor of coverage in the 1980s and early 1990s. Most of the financing for mesothelioma and other asbestos liability have thus come from primary, excess, and reinsurance assets. This has had a significant impact on the insurance industry, both in the United States and abroad. United States insurance companies had spent about $21.6 billion on asbestos claims through 2000 (4, p. 54). The crisis in the Lloyds insurance market in London in the late 1980s has been substantially attributed to American asbestos liabilities. When insurance is unavailable, the assets for recovery come from the individual corporate resources of the defendants. When defendants declare bankruptcy, a separate mechanism can be created for the financing of asbestos liability depending on the particular circumstances of the defendant. A good example is the so-called Manville Trust, which was created out of the assets of the company and exists for the sole purpose of providing compensation. There has been some controversy over the extent to which the purposes of some corporate restructuring has been to avoid asbestos liability (6). Occasionally, companies have emerged in some form from bankruptcy to rejoin the list of defendants. The Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust was the first example of this latter process. The trust was established in 1986, four years after Johns-Manville Corp. filed a petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code (7). In November 1989, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved the Manville Trust. The trust was established and organized in a fashion that would provide settlements to those injured by their exposure to asbestos, while limiting the need for litigation through aggressive settlement tactics. To date, the trust has paid out over $2.9 billion to approximately 500,000 claimants. There are currently a number of firms attempting to follow the lead of Johns-Manville in emergence from bankruptcy.
4 824 Chapter 54 Economic Aspects of Mesothelioma Measures of Damages In a personal injury asbestos case, the conventional measures of damages normally include medical expenses (so-called special damages), pain and suffering, the value of loss of life, loss of consortium of the victim s spouse, and punitive damages when the defendant s actions are found to be egregious. More controversial damages questions involve compensation for fear of cancer, for the risk that one might become ill in the future, or for medical monitoring. In some cases, the medical bills may be paid through the medical insurance coverage of the plaintiff and there are other sources of compensation, such as government benefits, workers compensation, and the personal resources of the victims. Frequently, however, these items of damages become issues in litigation. In the case of an abatement question, the issue of economics normally arises in the form of a governmental abatement directive sometimes followed by property damage litigation. Volume of Cases Perhaps the single most influential feature of asbestos litigation is the large volume of cases. From the 1970s to the present day, an estimated 600,000 cases have been filed in the courts of the United States. According to testimony in Congress, there were an estimated 200,000 cases pending in 1999, with 20,000 to 50,000 new cases filed every year (8). Between 1993 and 1999, the number of pending cases nationwide has doubled. Filings have increased to more than 90,000 in 2001, compared with 20,000 in the early part of the decade. Predictions for the filing of future claims have ranged from a few hundred thousand to over 2 million (4, p. 46). The number of mesothelioma cases has also been on the rise. However, the number of such cases has not grown as rapidly as other asbestos cases, and mesothelioma cases are decreasing as a percentage of the whole (4, p. 46). In the early 1970s, mesothelioma cases accounted for roughly 10% of all claims. This number had fallen to about 5% by the late 1970s, remaining at about that level through the 1980s. Beginning in the late 1980s, the percentage of mesothelioma cases fell even further. Through the 1990s and continuing today, mesothelioma cases account for only 3% to 4% of all asbestos-related claims. As noted above, compensation received by mesothelioma claimants is typically higher than that received by those with other asbestos-related claims. While the mean award for asbestosis increased nearly fivefold from $1 million in 1999 to $5 million in 2001, the mean award for mesothelioma claims rose dramatically as well. In 1998, the mean mesothelioma verdict was $2 million. This number increased to over $6 million in Even though some of the staggeringly large awards may have been reduced by remittitur or on appeal, they reverberate through the litigation generally and raise the overall costs of mesothelioma dramatically.
5 Asbestos was so widely used in society that its effects were felt by hundreds of thousands of people, who have relatively easy access to the civil justice system. It is common for lawyers working in tandem with unions and certain physicians to organize mass lung screenings of workers for the purpose of collecting large numbers of plaintiffs. Plaintiffs are also actively solicited through advertising and other means. The Internet is filled with advertisements for mesothelioma lawyers. Claimants are attracted to the system by the prospect of substantial recoveries. This phenomenon has been felt unevenly throughout the country. As might be expected, large concentrations of cases have occurred in areas where asbestos usage was more common, such as in shipyards, power plants, and refineries. Concentration of cases has also been affected by political, economic, and cultural factors. It has been reported that the largest concentrations have occurred in the states of California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois before 1988 and Mississippi, New York, West Virginia, Ohio, and Texas after 1998 (4, pp. 26, 36). Every case that is filed comes with numerous contestable issues. Examples of such issues include whether the plaintiff was exposed to the product of a particular defendant (the typical asbestos plaintiff names an average of 60 defendants), whether the plaintiff s condition was specifically caused by that product, and whether the disease of the plaintiff was caused by asbestos rather than some other substance, such as tobacco. When the number of plaintiffs and defendants is multiplied in any particular set of cases, the potential for disputes is magnified exponentially. This gives rise to gridlock in the judicial system. The courts do not have enough time or resources to deal with every such issue in every case. The crowding of dockets has given rise to various negotiating strategies on the part of the participants in this process strategies that are usually managed by experienced law firms. It is a typical strategy of the plaintiffs to collect as many cases as possible and to present the system with demands for settlement in which individual analysis of cases is subordinated to the imperative of the need for massive compensation. Mesothelioma cases play an important role in this process, since they are generally perceived as the more serious and thus economically valuable cases. In cases where settlement does not occur and the cases go to trial, it is typically the strategy of plaintiffs to load the mix with serious cases with a view toward increasing the overall jury award. It is also the strategy of the plaintiffs to focus on the reprehensibility of corporate behavior in order to inflame the jury and inflate the award. Plaintiffs often press for easy access to the system and for trial. The typical strategy of the defendants, by contrast, is to focus on the factors of the cases that are individual rather than on the factors that are common. Defendants have tended to resist large consolidations or class actions (especially for trial as distinguished from settlement) and to be interested in a specific case-by-case inquiry into whether a particular asbestos-containing product caused a particular injury in a given plaintiff. Defendants are also resistant to easy access by the plaintiffs to the system and less anxious to try corporate behavior especially in the context of punitive damages. The willingness of defendants to J.A. Lagnese 825
6 826 Chapter 54 Economic Aspects of Mesothelioma settle cases is often influenced by economic considerations, such as the availability of insurance, predictability, and the general capacity to manage the flow. Transactional Costs The contentious nature of the asbestos litigation system creates enormous transactional costs. These include attorneys fees, expert witness expenses, governmental and insurance resources, and many other hidden costs. While estimates vary, it is generally agreed that over 50% of the money in the system is consumed in transactional costs. The most commonly cited statistic has been that of a RAND Corp. study in 1984 that estimated that 61% of monies paid to resolve asbestos claims were spent on legal fees and expenses. The more recent 2002 RAND report confirms that over 50% of all money spent on asbestos claims is consumed by transactional costs (4, p. 60). The 1991 report of the Judicial Conference Ad Hoc Committee on Asbestos Litigation concluded, The transaction costs associated with asbestos litigation are an unconscionable burden on the victims of asbestos disease (2, p. 13). Judicial Management Techniques Given the above dynamics, the form in which the judicial system chooses to manage asbestos cases becomes very important. There has been substantial controversy over this subject. In the early years of the litigation, most cases were handled individually or in small groups. As this became increasingly impossible, judges began to experiment with various aggregative approaches. Cases grouped for trial became larger and larger. Class action questions became more common. As the numbers increased, efficiencies of scale were perceived in trying specific issues collectively rather than each individual case one by one. Thus, for example, a court might try the issue of corporate responsibility or general causation generically over a large number of individual cases. Some courts employed systems of bifurcation in which liability was tried separately from damages. Many variations in these styles of piecemeal litigation were developed in response to the dynamics of litigation in particular jurisdictions or the perceived advantages of moving the greatest numbers of cases through the system with the minimal of transactional costs. Frequently a judicial management technique intended to streamline the system had the opposite effect by encouraging the filing of more cases. As stated by one commentator, If you build a superhighway, there will be a traffic jam (9). Notwithstanding these efforts, cases continued to overwhelm the system. In 1991, the Judicial Conference Ad Hoc Committee on Asbestos Litigation, chaired by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, called for a legislative solution. In the event Congress did not act, the Rehnquist committee suggested a backup plan of greater aggregative approaches. In 1991, the Federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litiga-
7 J.A. Lagnese 827 tion consolidated all federal asbestos cases into one jurisdiction (Philadelphia) for pretrial and some settlement proceedings (10). The effect of this federal action has been somewhat offset by the resulting practice of many plaintiffs in filing their cases in state courts where there has been a greater perceived ability to obtain higher recoveries and punitive damage awards. Some state courts have also ordered massive consolidations or class actions. The movement toward greater aggregation has been limited, however, by jurisprudential perceptions of the system as requiring the trial of individual issues. For example, in what was perhaps one of the most experimental aggregative approaches of them all, a federal trial court in Texas consolidated several thousand cases, tried what was perceived to be a representative sample, and extrapolated the results from the sample to the remaining cases. This approach was rejected on appeal as inconsistent with the nature of judicial power (11). Several United States Supreme Court decisions rejected on technical grounds attempts to settle large categories of cases (12,13). These disputes over the form of the litigation process, rather than the facts of individual cases, have added to the transactional costs. Calls for federal legislative action have so far gone unheard. Congressional reluctance to enter this fray may perhaps be partially explained on grounds of fear of a federally financed bailout (14). Lobbying efforts have increased in the wake of ever-increasing number of bankruptcies and the spread of asbestos liability to mainstream American companies, but no comprehensive legislative solution seems imminent. The Senate Judiciary Committee held its most recent hearing on asbestos litigation reform on September 25, However, as of this writing, no action has been taken by the committee. Medical Expert Witnesses Medical expert witnesses play an important role in asbestos litigation. As might be expected in an adversary system of litigation, lawyers tend to seek out experts who are perceived to be helpful to their own side in a particular case. Excessive partisanship, however, is normally somewhat restrained by the opportunity for cross-examination and the desire to appear credible before judges and juries. Physicians who appear frequently as expert witnesses are well known to experienced attorneys. They are tracked by various publications and databases, and the transcripts of testimony given in previous cases are readily available. Notwithstanding these governing devices, there have been problems experienced in the use of expert witnesses. Physicians have been instrumental in the process of assembling large numbers of cases of individuals asserted to be suffering from asbestos-related disease. There have been abuses in situations where the physician s compensation was related to the number of plaintiffs produced. A judicial experiment utilizing court-appointed rather than privately retained experts resulted in a dramatic decline in the incidence of findings of asbestosrelated disease (15). More generally, there has been a reaction in the
8 828 Chapter 54 Economic Aspects of Mesothelioma courts against the excessive use of experts utilizing dubious scientific methodology or junk science a reaction epitomized in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Daubert v. Merrel Dow Pharmaceuticals (16). The former laissez-faire attitude of the courts has given way to what has been termed a gatekeeping role in which judges are often quite active in screening out medical expert testimony deemed to be unscientific. Punitive Damages Punitive damages are one of the most controversial economic aspects of asbestos litigation. Punitive damages are awarded to a plaintiff in addition to compensatory damages. Their purpose is punishment and deterrence. Given the well-developed evidence of corporate misconduct on the part of some defendants in the earlier years, it is not difficult to argue a punitive damages case to a jury, and such arguments often have great populist appeal (e.g., send a message to the corporate boardroom). Such damage awards can be quite high. The effect of such awards far transcends their imposition in a single case. The fear of punitive damages induces defendants to settle cases at a premium. A single mass consolidation accompanied by punitive damages can be a bet the company type of case and can create enormous pressure to settle. Another problem is the multiple imposition of punitive damages for a single course of conduct. The punitive damage inducing conduct on the part of certain corporate defendants occurred generations ago and took place only once, although its effect was felt by many people. When those many people file lawsuits years later, each claims the same entitlement to punitive damages. To the extent these claims are successful, the defendant may be ordered to pay many times over for the same conduct. Numerous courts and commentators have expressed frustration with this phenomenon on the grounds that it prematurely exhausts resources that would otherwise be available for the satisfaction of future compensatory damages awards (17). So far, however, there has been mixed success at curtailment of these practices. Some courts have finessed the problem by indefinitely deferring claims for punitive damages until all compensatory damage obligations are satisfied. Abatement of Asbestos in Buildings Economic impacts are also felt in various measures of asbestos abatement and the resulting property damage litigation. When the dangers of asbestos became known, many building authorities required abatement measures of various kinds. Buildings, such as the World Trade Center and many of the nation s public schools, were forced to take abatement measures. Sometimes there were disputes over the appro-
9 J.A. Lagnese 829 priateness of certain abatement measures or whether the conditions of certain sick buildings were due to asbestos or other contaminants. As in the case of personal injury, the defendants facing such liabilities turned to their insurance carriers with predictable disputes. There were also significant transactional costs, albeit less than in the area of personal injury. The Creation of Industries The activity involved in handling these disputes has spawned a virtual industry associated with asbestos litigation. At the apex of this industry are the plaintiffs attorneys. While thousands of attorneys handle asbestos litigation, there are a relatively small number of influential lawyers and law firms that have been very successful and have developed national or regional reputations. Asbestos cases are generally handled on a contingency-fee basis with such fees constituting a substantial part of the recovery. These fees can become extremely high when spread over a major recovery in thousands of cases. For example, it has been estimated that in one mass consolidation of asbestos cases in Baltimore, the attorneys fees from settlements alone were $120 million to $125 million and that the total was expected to rise to $300 million after trial (18). One commentator has estimated that plaintiffs lawyers effective rates of return expressed on an hourly basis in asbestos cases range from $1000 to $5000 per hour, and in cases of mass consolidations, hourly rates have been $50,000 per hour, with total fees ranging from $200 million to $500 million or more (19). The assets accumulated by some lawyers in these cases have allowed them to exercise considerable political influence and to finance expansion into other mass tort cases such as tobacco litigation. Defense attorneys are also a significant part of the asbestos litigation industry. While they are typically paid by the hour rather than on a contingency fee basis, the massive time and effort required to handle the litigation has generated significant law firm revenues. Asbestos cases also require expert witnesses, typically members of the medical profession. It is not unusual for an experienced expert to command fees of thousands of dollars per day for expert testimony or consultation. Other experts include economists, industrial hygienists, historians, epidemiologists, and an almost infinite variety of other specialties, depending on the peculiarities of a given case. Behind the front lines of the litigated cases, there are many other people whose role is instrumental in the handling of the asbestos problem and who are thus significant factors in its overall economic impact. These include the management of corporate defendants and insurance companies, the administrators of claims-paying agencies, such as the Manville Trust, and various members of the judicial branch and other governmental entities. There is also a small publishing and educational seminar industry that is devoted exclusively to reporting on asbestos matters. Asbestos litigation has also given rise to a substantial body of scholarly literature.
10 830 Chapter 54 Economic Aspects of Mesothelioma The Destruction of Industries The present and foreseeable future costs of asbestos litigation have led a large number of companies to file for bankruptcy protection (4, p. 71). The wave of bankruptcies began in the 1980s, with 16 firms filing for protection. The number remained virtually the same through the 1990s, with 18 bankruptcies reported through the decade. However, the number of bankruptcies related to asbestos has recently accelerated. There have been more filings since 2000, at least 22 through July 2002, than there were in the 1970s and 1980s combined. The recent RAND report estimated the amount of corporate investment and economic growth lost due to asbestos litigation (4, p. 74). It determined that if the costs of asbestos litigation reach the predicted $200 billion level, there will have been a $33 billion reduction in corporate investment. This reduction in the investment level of large companies has already resulted in the loss of an estimated 138,000 jobs and will likely result in the loss of an additional 290,000 jobs in the future. This loss of jobs has and will continue to have a major impact on the economy as a whole. The New Wave of Asbestos Litigation One of the more interesting economic effects of the system in recent years is the so-called new wave of asbestos litigation involving unimpaired plaintiffs and peripheral defendants. Since most asbestoscontaining products were banned from the marketplace a generation ago, it had been predicted that the incidence of asbestos-related disease would decrease and that the claims would accordingly decline. These predictions have not come to pass. The volume of new asbestos cases today is actually increasing (4). To some degree, this is probably a product of lawyer solicitation. It is also, however, a product of the fact that many individuals have radiographic markers of asbestos exposure but may never become symptomatic or impaired. According to Congressional testimony in 1999, experts have projected that 50% to 80% of the current claims are filed by individuals with no impairment (20). In some jurisdictions, the claims of these individuals are deferred. In others, however, they are encouraged by statutes of limitations and policies that recognize their compensability or that permit claims for fear of cancer or for medical monitoring. As the number of claims are holding steady or increasing, the number of traditional defendants left standing who have escaped bankruptcy has dramatically declined. This has forced plaintiffs representatives to expand the universe of potentially responsible defendants and to bring actions against entities whose connection to asbestos has been peripheral. Over 6000 companies have been named as defendants in asbestos cases (4, p. vi). Examples include companies in the textile, pulp and paper, food, automotive, and energy industries. Wellknown corporate defendant names include Chiquita Brands, General Electric, Sears & Roebuck, Georgia Pacific, Dow Chemical, Ford,
11 J.A. Lagnese 831 General Motors, and Daimler Chrysler. According to the recent RAND study, more than 1000 American corporations have been made asbestos defendants, and these companies are scattered across 75 of the 83 industrial categories used by the Department of Commerce (4, p. 50). The employees, retirees, and shareholders of these companies are affected by this asbestos liability. The economic impact of this new wave of asbestos litigation has yet to be fully felt. Conclusion Asbestos litigation is the longest running mass tort in United States history. Mesothelioma is its most conspicuous type of case. The economic aspects of these phenomena have had a major effect on the American economy. References 1. Ortiz v. Fibreboard, 527 U.S. 815, 821 (1999). 2. Report of the Judicial Conference Ad Hoc Committee on Asbestos Litigation, chaired by Chief Justice Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court. 3. In re Joint Eastern and Southern Dist. Asbestos Lit., 827 F. Supp. 1014, 1026 (S.D.N.Y. 1993) reversed on other grounds, 52 F.3d 1124 (2d Cir, 1995). 4. Carroll S, Hensler D, Abrahamse A, et al. Asbestos litigation costs and compensation: an interim report. RAND, Faulk RO. Asbestos litigation crisis requires policymakers attention. Washington Legal Foundation, February 22, Schmoll v. AC&S, Inc., 703 F. Supp. 868 (D. Or. 1988) affirmed 977 F.2d 499 (9 th Cir, 1992) [Transfer of assets from Raymark to Raytech designed to improperly escape asbestos liability]. 7. Statement of David T. Austin before the United States Senate Committee of the Judiciary, Sept. 25, Finding solutions to the asbestos litigation problem: the fairness in Asbestos Compensation Act of 1999, hearing before the Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight of the Courts of the Committee on the Judiciary, October 5, McGovern F. The defensive use of federal class actions in mass torts. Ariz Law Rev 1997;39: In re Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (VI), 771 F. Supp. 415 (J.P.M.L. 1991). 11. Cimino v. Raymark Industries, 151 F.3d 297 (5 th Cir. 1998). 12. Amchem Products v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591 (1997). 13. Ortiz v. Fibreboard, 527 U.S. 815 (1999). 14. Report of the hearings on the Fairness in Asbestos Compensation Act of 1999 before the Subcommittee on Judicial Oversight of the Courts of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on October 5, The act under consideration involved a proposal for a nationwide administrative claims resolution process. One opponent (Rep. Scott of Virginia) referred to the pending bill as a bailout for an industry responsibility for the disability and death of millions of Americans. The bill failed and its principal sponsor went into bankruptcy.
12 832 Chapter 54 Economic Aspects of Mesothelioma 15. Rubin CB, Ringenbach L. The use of court experts in asbestos litigation. 137 F.R.D. 35 (1991). 16. Daubert v. Merrel Dow Pharmaceuticals, 506 U.S. 914 (1983). 17. In re Collins, 233 F.3d 809, 812 (3d Cir. 2000) cert. den. 121 S. Ct (2001). 18. Blum A. Megafees in Baltimore Megacase. National Law J August 29, 1992: Brickman L. On the relevance of the admissibility of scientific evidence: tort system outcomes are principally determined by lawyers rates of return. Cardozo Law Rev 1994;15: October 5, 1999 Hearings on the Fairness in Asbestos Compensation Act of 1999, Testimony of Congressman Moran, p. 6.