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Monday, July 21, 2003

Halliburton Asbestos Claims

The Wall Street Journal of all sources seems to be unfairly targeting Halliburton with an article alleging they have delayed settling asbestos claims in hopes that Congress may pass a national settlement that will be cheaper for them:

"Plaintiffs' attorneys allege that Halliburton has stalled so that it can see if Congress comes up with a legislative resolution for the hundreds of thousands of asbestos claims plaguing about 8,000 U.S. companies. A Senate panel has approved a national trust, but it isn't clear how far the proposal will go in Congress. A congressional solution is likely to be cheaper than the plan Halliburton has hammered out."

Don't get me wrong, I dislike Dick Cheney's cronies as much as the next reasonable person, but I also know that this behavior is not unique to Halliburton. My law student sister is working at a firm for the summer and says that delaying tactics are being used by everyone with asbestos issues pending. I wonder if any of the legal brains out there could devise a way to avoid such situations in which lawyers use red-tape to prolong matters while waiting for legislative action. Some lawyers may know a way, though sharing it with the world may cut their fees too, so who knows if they would be willing to share it.