Two famous personal injury attorneys from Pittsburgh conspired with a radiologist from West Virginia for fabricating fake asbestos compensation claims against the railroad company CSX, a United States federal grand jury in West Virginia ruled on Thursday.
Lawyers Louis Raimond and Robert Peirce, together with Doctor Ray Harron, have been asked to pay US$429240. The amount can be tripled later under the 1970 Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
The award is an exceptional victory for corporations, which have complained for long about being unjustly victimized by crooked doctors, greedy patients and voracious law firms that bring fraudulent asbestos claims.
‘Peirce, Raimond and Coulter’, the former law firm of Mr. Peirce, targeted CSX, but the circumstances changed dramatically as the doctor and law firm were sued under the RICO statute, leveling the allegations that the parties were culpable of racketeering by fabricating claims.
According to the lawsuit, several claims involved claimants diagnosed by Harron who had lost medical license in year 2007. Harron lost his license as he allegedly made fraudulent diagnoses in 2005 Texas asbestos-related cases.
CSX said the company found numerous cases that Harron initially found the patients did not have asbestosis but changed the diagnoses later. The railroad company selected 11 of them to appear at court trial.
Peirce fought strongly and won summary judgment initially. However, CSX then appealed the ruling to the fourth Circuit Appeals Court that remanded the case 2 years ago for allowing the railroad company to amend the complaint. CSX amended it in year 2011 proceeded the case.
The trial began in Wheeling, West Virginia, on 11th December. For CSX, doctors testified that the claimants didn’t show any signs of asbestos-related lung disease. The 8-member jury deliberated more than 2 hours before deciding in favour of the railroad company.
“The ruling by the W. VA jury is indeed a clear declaration that the reliability of the civil justice system should be protected. We strongly believe that such deceptions in our legal system should be exposed,” said Marc Williams, the lawyer represented CSX.
Peirce said he is looking into his options now.
“Of numerous asbestos-related claims filed by us, CSX found 11 that the company believed did not have a reasonable basis,” Peirce said.
“For certain reasons that we are unable to understand, the court ignored our testimony. We are sure that the verdict was wrong, though we respect the legal process and jury system,” Peirce said.