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Pennsylvania – Asbestos Company – Asbestos Claims

Pennsylvania company is 89th to collapse under asbestos claims 
4/23/2010 10:39 AM By Steve Korris

 

 

PHILADELPHIA - Durabla Manufacturing, aPennsylvania company that made sealing products, collapsed under the weight of 108,000 asbestos suits.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno of Philadelphia, responsible for
asbestos claims nationwide, received notice on April 12 of Durabla's bankruptcy.

Asbestos litigation has bankrupted 89 companies in 28 years, according to the Crowell Moring firm in Washington. Among the earliest was Johns-Manville in 1982; and among the latest was General Motors last year. 

Durabla received its first asbestos claim in 1980, Mark Eckard of Wilmington wrote for owner David Moser on Jan. 7.

Primary coverage of $8.5 million lasted until 2002, Eckard wrote, paying 16,017 claims at an average of $531.

Durabla had closed about 62,000 cases without payment by then, he wrote, but about 79,000 cases remained open between 2002 and 2009.

Durabla showed a profit in 2002, he wrote, and retained earnings of $1,113,555.

It showed a profit three of the next four years, he wrote, but sales didn't cover overhead and Durabla ceased operation in 2007.

It has spent cash and marketed securities to wind up its affairs, defend litigation and protect insurance coverage, he wrote.

As of last June 30, he wrote, it had $318,847 in cash and $1.5 million in coverage.

Eckard represents Moser, who is being sued personally over asbestos claims. 

Moser started an adversary proceeding in bankruptcy court, seeking a declaration that he wouldn't have to defend asbestos suits individually.

Eckard wrote that as Durabla exhausted coverage in 2008, claimants started suing Moser and two companies as alter egos.

Durabla lawyer Chad Toms of Wilmington did not submit a list of creditors to bankruptcy court, instead identifying 20 firms with the most plaintiffs.

Weitz and Luxenberg, of New York City,leads the group with 33,649 plaintiffs.

Jaques Admiralty Law Firm of Detroit nearly matches that, with 33,111.

Peter Angelos and Peter Nicholl of Baltimore represent about 8,000 and 7,000.

Morris, Sakalarios and Blackwell of Hattiesburg, Miss.,represents about 5,000.

About 4,000 suits come from other Mississippi firms: Conway and Martin of Gulfport; Byrd and Associates of Jackson; Foster Law Group of Ocean Springs; and Porter and Malouf of Ridgeland.

Brent Coon and Associates of Dallasrepresents about 3,000, and so does Wilentz, Goldman and Spitzer of New York City.

Motley Rice of Mount Pleasant, S.C., did not make the list, but it entered an appearance in bankruptcy court 15 days after Durabla filed its petition.

According to Crowell Moring in Washington, the following is a list of asbestos bankruptcies:

1982: UNR Industries, Johns-Manville, Amatex, Unarco

1983: Waterman Steamship

1984: Wallace & Gale

1985: Forty-Eight Insulations

1986: Philadelphia Asbestos, Standard Insulations, Prudential Lines, McLean Industries, United States Lines

1987: Gatke Corp., Todd Shipyards, Nicolet Inc.

1989: Raymark/Raytech, Delaware Insulations, Hillsborough Holding Co.

1990: Celotex, Carey Canada,National Gypsum

1991
: Eagle-Picher Industries, H.K. Porter Co.

1992: Kentile Floors

1993: American Shipbuilding, Keene Corp.

1995: Lykes Bros. Steamship

1996: Rock Wool Manufacturing

1998: M. H. Detrick, Fuller-Austin, Brunswick Fabricators

1999: Harnischfeger Corp., Rutland Fire Clay

2000: Babcock & Wilcox, Pittsburgh Corning, Owens 
Corning/Fibreboard, Armstrong World Industries

2001: Burns & Roe, G-I Holdings, Skinner Engine, W.R. Grace, USG Corp., E.J. Bartells, United States Mineral Products, Federal Mogul, Murphy Marine Services, Insul, Swan Transportation

2002: North American Refractories, Kaiser Aluminum, GIT/Harbison-Walker/AP Green Industries, Plibrico, Shook & Fletcher, Porter-Hayden, Artra Group, Special Metals, Asbestos Claims Management Corp., AC and S, JT Thorpe Co. (Texas), A-Best Products, Western MacArthur/Western Asbestos

2003: C.E. Thurston, Combustion Engineering, Congoleum, Mid-Valley (Halliburton subsidiaries), Muralo Co.

2004: Flintkote/Flintkote Mines, Oglebay Norton, Special Electric, Quigley Co., Utex Industries, JT Thorpe Inc. (California.)

2005: API Inc., Lake Asbestos of Quebec Ltd., Asarco, Brauer Supply

2006: Dana Corporation, ABB Lummus Global, Lloyd E. Mitchell Co.

2007: Thorpe Insulation, Pacific Insulation

2008: Hercules Chemical, Christy Refractories, T H Agriculture & Nutrition

2009: Plant Insulation Co., General Motors (However, GM disavows intent to proceed as asbestos bankruptcy, but trustee appointed asbestos claimants committee and GM moved to appoint a future claims representative).

2010: Durabla Manufacturing

 

http://madisonrecord.com/news/226286-pennsylvania-company-is-89th-to-collapse-under-asbestos-claims

 
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Pennsylvania – Asbestos Company – Asbestos Claims

Pennsylvania company is 89th to collapse under asbestos claims 
4/23/2010 10:39 AM By Steve Korris 

PHILADELPHIA - Durabla Manufacturing, aPennsylvania company that made sealing products, collapsed under the weight of 108,000 asbestos suits.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno ofPhiladelphia, responsible forasbestos claims nationwide, received notice on April 12 of Durabla's bankruptcy.

Asbestos litigation has bankrupted 89 companies in 28 years, according to the Crowell Moring firm inWashington. Among the earliest was Johns-Manville in 1982; and among the latest was General Motors last year. 

Durabla received its first asbestos claim in 1980, Mark Eckard ofWilmington wrote for owner David Moser on Jan. 7.

Primary coverage of $8.5 million lasted until 2002, Eckard wrote, paying 16,017 claims at an average of $531.

Durabla had closed about 62,000 cases without payment by then, he wrote, but about 79,000 cases remained open between 2002 and 2009.

Durabla showed a profit in 2002, he wrote, and retained earnings of $1,113,555.

It showed a profit three of the next four years, he wrote, but sales didn't cover overhead and Durabla ceased operation in 2007.

It has spent cash and marketed securities to wind up its affairs, defend litigation and protect insurance coverage, he wrote.

As of last June 30, he wrote, it had $318,847 in cash and $1.5 million in coverage.

Eckard represents Moser, who is being sued personally over asbestos claims. 

Moser started an adversary proceeding in bankruptcy court, seeking a declaration that he wouldn't have to defend asbestos suits individually.

Eckard wrote that as Durabla exhausted coverage in 2008, claimants started suing Moser and two companies as alter egos.

Durabla lawyer Chad Toms of Wilmington did not submit a list of creditors to bankruptcy court, instead identifying 20 firms with the most plaintiffs.

Weitz and Luxenberg, ofNew York City, leads the group with 33,649 plaintiffs.

Jaques Admiralty Law Firm of Detroit nearly matches that, with 33,111.

Peter Angelos and Peter Nicholl ofBaltimore represent about 8,000 and 7,000.

Morris, Sakalarios and Blackwell of Hattiesburg, Miss., represents about 5,000.

About 4,000 suits come from otherMississippi firms: Conway and Martin ofGulfport; Byrd and Associates of Jackson; Foster Law Group of Ocean Springs; and Porter and Malouf of Ridgeland.

Brent Coon and Associates of Dallas represents about 3,000, and so does Wilentz, Goldman and Spitzer of New York City.

Motley Rice of Mount Pleasant, S.C., did not make the list, but it entered an appearance in bankruptcy court 15 days after Durabla filed its petition.

According to Crowell Moring in Washington, the following is a list of asbestos bankruptcies:

1982: UNR Industries, Johns-Manville, Amatex, Unarco

1983: Waterman Steamship

1984: Wallace & Gale

1985: Forty-Eight Insulations

1986: Philadelphia Asbestos, Standard Insulations, Prudential Lines, McLean Industries, United States Lines

1987: Gatke Corp., Todd Shipyards, Nicolet Inc.

1989: Raymark/Raytech, Delaware Insulations, Hillsborough Holding Co.

1990: Celotex, Carey Canada, National Gypsum

1991: Eagle-Picher Industries, H.K. Porter Co.

1992: Kentile Floors

1993: American Shipbuilding, Keene Corp.

1995: Lykes Bros. Steamship

1996: Rock Wool Manufacturing

1998: M. H. Detrick, Fuller-Austin, Brunswick Fabricators

1999: Harnischfeger Corp., Rutland Fire Clay

2000: Babcock & Wilcox, Pittsburgh Corning, Owens 
Corning/Fibreboard, Armstrong World Industries

2001: Burns & Roe, G-I Holdings, Skinner Engine, W.R. Grace, USG Corp., E.J. Bartells, United States Mineral Products, Federal Mogul, Murphy Marine Services, Insul, Swan Transportation

2002: North American Refractories, Kaiser Aluminum, GIT/Harbison-Walker/AP Green Industries, Plibrico, Shook & Fletcher, Porter-Hayden, Artra Group, Special Metals, Asbestos Claims Management Corp., AC and S, JT Thorpe Co. (Texas), A-Best Products, Western MacArthur/Western Asbestos

2003: C.E. Thurston, Combustion Engineering, Congoleum, Mid-Valley (Halliburton subsidiaries), Muralo Co.

2004: Flintkote/Flintkote Mines, Oglebay Norton, Special Electric, Quigley Co., Utex Industries, JT Thorpe Inc. (California.)

2005: API Inc., Lake Asbestos of Quebec Ltd., Asarco, Brauer Supply

2006: Dana Corporation, ABB Lummus Global, Lloyd E. Mitchell Co.

2007: Thorpe Insulation, Pacific Insulation

2008: Hercules Chemical, Christy Refractories, T H Agriculture & Nutrition

2009: Plant Insulation Co., General Motors (However, GM disavows intent to proceed as asbestos bankruptcy, but trustee appointed asbestos claimants committee and GM moved to appoint a future claims representative).

2010: Durabla Manufacturing

 

http://madisonrecord.com/news/226286-pennsylvania-company-is-89th-to-collapse-under-asbestos-claims
 
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Philadelphia – Asbestos Legislation – Asbestos Lawsuit

Wisconsin Bill Could Limit Asbestos Lawsuits

By asbestoshub | July 1, 2009

There is a little-known provision sliding through the state budged inWisconsin which some fear will stop recovery ofdamages for asbestos cancer.

The proposal, which has not had any public hearing, would limit plaintiffs’ ability to sue companies that merged with smaller companies before 1972.

Supporters of the provision say it is narrowly written to wipe away liability for the Crown Cork and Seal Co. ofPhiladelphia, which has plantsWisconsin and which has paid out huge damages for buying a company that had previously made asbestos.

Opponents worry the bill could affect lawsuits against more companies than just Crown Cork.

In defense of the legislation, a Crown lobbyist insists the company has already passed similar legislation in 10 states but no company besides Crown has used the provisions to defend itself from lawsuits.

In 1963, Crown bought Mundet Cork Co., a company that had previously made asbestos, for $7 million, McIntosh said. Since then, the company has paid $500 million to asbestos victims.

The proposal is intended to protect companies such as Crown that merged with an asbestos maker by limiting their legal liability in asbestos cases to the present day value of the company that actually made the asbestos. In Crown’s case, the present day value of Mundet would be about $60 million, meaning that Crown would no longer be liable inWisconsin for any damages under the proposal.

Is that fair?

http://asbestoshub.com/2009/07/01/wisconsin-bill-could-limit-asbestos-lawsuits/

 
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Philadelphia – Asbestos Trades –Asbestos Lawsuit

Southern Illinois cases included in asbestos MDL: 94-year-oldTennesseean among plaintiffs
5/15/2009 5:21 AM By SteveKorris 

Robreno

PHILADELPHIA -Rubert Ellington ofTennessee, 94-years-old, claims his former employers owe him $2.5 million for wrecking his health.

Ellington sued Illinois Central Railroad atU.S. district court inEast St. Louis in 2007, claiming itexposed him to harmful asbestos from 1959 to 1979.

Lawyer William Gavin ofBelleville added a claim that BNSF similarly harmed him from 1957 to 1959.

Gavin's complaint showed he was born in 1914.

On Thursday, May 14, Ellington answered his phone inMilan,Tenn. and said he couldn't hear well.

He heard a question about his age and said he was born Sept. 21, 1914.

In answer to the next question he said he couldn't hear. He hung up.

His claim will vanish unless Gavin rescues it from swift disposal by U.S. District Judge EduardoRobreno ofPhiladelphia.

Robreno, responsible for pretrial proceedings in asbestos suits from federal courts around the nation, has cleared away claims at a rate of 6,000 a day this year.

He took over the docket last year and required each plaintiff to state a claim against each defendant rather than a blanket claim against all defendants.

Where many plaintiffs joined a single suit, he required a separate suit from each.

His process turned tens of thousands of suits into more than three million suits.

Defendants askedRobreno to dismiss about half the claims with a stroke of a pen, butRobreno preferred a thorough approach.

He asked defendants for "show cause" motions to get rid of claims one by one, and he set weekly hearings for hundreds at a time.

He enlisted a platoon of magistrates to preside over settlement conferences, and he started rounding up mediators.

On May 4 he appointed a mediator for 2,800 plaintiffs fromIndiana,Wisconsin andIllinois, including more than 100 from the Southern District of Illinois.

On May 7 he focused on 22 Gavin plaintiffs and five clients ofSt. Louis lawyer Patrick O'Brien in the Southern District.

They all sued Illinois Central as their former employer.

Among those who listed home towns, not one lived inSouthern Illinois.

Two O'Brien clients came from Heyworth and the others came fromDecatur,Champaign and Tuscola, all in the Central District.

An O'Brien complaint lists a litany of more than 20 ways to cough, plus a lament of constant medical care.

The same words appear in each complaint.

Gavin sued on behalf of three and four men at a time, claiming common issues regardless of occupation, location or duration.

In one case he asserted common questions for acarman who started work in 1950, a laborer who started in 1953, an electrician who started in 1974, and an electrician who started in another city in 1972.

All four lived inAlabama.

In another suit Gavin asserted common questions for two engineers and twocarmen whose jobs began from 1934 to 1971.

The complaint didn't say where the plaintiffs lived.

Another suit showed twoMississippi plaintiffs, one fromAlabama, and one fromCoconino County,Ill.

Illinois lacks aCoconinoCounty, though it could use one. The realCoconinoCounty, inArizona, features theGrand Canyon.

Gavin didn't specify damages for any client but Ellington.

None of the cases remained in the Southern District for long.

Defendants asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation to transfer them toPhiladelphia, and the panel granted transfers.

This February, defendants filed show cause motions asserting that plaintiffs didn't state specific claims asRobreno required.

O'Brien responded that he didn't receive notices to comply withRobreno's order and didn't know about it until defendants posted the motions at the Southern District.

Terry Brown ofBelleville entered an appearance as his co-counsel.

Gavin didn't respond as smoothly as O'Brien.

On April 24 the court received responses on behalf of Gavin's clients, arguing that they met the requirements of the order in 2007.

The responses bore the signature of Hector Sandoval, ofRoven-Kaplan inHouston.

On April 27 clerks declared the responses deficient because they didn't come through Sandoval's password.

The Gavin and O'Brienplaintiffs suits started from 2004 to 2007.

On May 11 a new case fromSouthern Illinois bubbled up onRobreno's front burner.

The Multi District Panel sent him a wrongful death suit that MichaelCascino ofChicago filed in January on behalf of the late EdwardShotts.

According to the complaintShotts died in 2005, at age 76.

Cascino didn't give his residence, but a work history placed him inIndiana.

Prior to transfer, defendants Owens-Illinois and Guard Line Inc. argued that a two year limit had run out on wrongful death.

Airgas Merchant Gases echoed the argument and added that the complaint was devoid of facts.

Diseases

From all five O'Brien complaints: Plaintiff has developed or is at risk to develop one or more of the following diseases: asbestosis, lung cancer,mesothelioma, asbestos related pleural disease, mixed dust, pneumoconiosis, occupational asthma, bronchitis, obstructive lung disease, chronic obstructive lung disease, silicosis, shortness of breath, reduced lung function, chronic persistent cough, chest congestion, sleep interruption, aggravation of pre-existing and co-existing disease, throat cancer, laryngeal cancer, lymphoma, gastrointestinal cancer, colon, stomach and rectal cancer, other asbestos related cancers, other diesel fume and exhaust related cancers, and other cancers associated with toxic exposure to solvents, chemicals, industrial products or chemicals, dusts, and/or particles.

The complaints also state that plaintiff has been under constant medical care and attention and will continue to receive same.

http://www.madisonrecord.com/news/219046-southern-illinois-cases-included-in-asbestos-mdl-94-year-old-tennesseean-among-plaintiffs
 
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Philadelphia – Mesothelioma Cancer –$25.2 Million Mesothelioma Award

Jury Awards $25.2M inPhiladelphia Asbestos Case

Thursday, March 20, 2008

APhiladelphiajury awarded $25.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages to one victim and an undisclosed amount to two others victims of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The estate of JamesBaccus was awarded $25.2 million after requesting that the case haveKentucky law applied. While he worked around asbestos inPhiladelphia, it was alleged that the majority of his injuries occurred inKentucky while he worked for American Synthetic Rubber.Baccus’s case was the only to go to punitive damages. The other two cases estimated damages were $12.6 million but they clients settled before the liability phase.

Full Story - http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1205923899524
 
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Philadelphia Pennsylvania – Asbestos Related Deaths

Camco Is 6th In Asbestos Deaths

Study predicts number of cases will increase

Mar 4, 2004 |Cherry Hill Courier Post

 

A new study ranksCamdenCounty as having the sixth-mostasbestos-related deaths in the nation.

Only counties with major citiesLos Angeles,Chicago,Philadelphia,Seattle andHouston had more deaths, according to the analysis of government health statistics by the Environmental Working Group.

In effect, the study suggests many of the region's elderly residents, the shipyard, refinery and factory workers of the past are paying with their health for the region's industrial might.

Jack Higgins was a longtimeCamden city resident and worked in maintenance departments at twoCamden shipyards and RCA. He was 80 when he died in 1997.

"You had to sit and watch the body deteriorate while the mind was sharp as a tack. It was heartbreaking," said his son, Timothy Higgins, aCollingswood attorney. He added his father had to use bottled oxygen the last years of his life.

"He would describe it as if he were drowning, like he was under water and couldn't breathe," Higgins said.

Camden County, which had an estimated 458 to 532 deaths between 1979 and 2001, even ranked just ahead of Somerset County, once home to the largest asbestos manufacturing plant in North America, owned by the Johns-Manville Corp.

The analysis, released today by the Washington, D.C.-based group, predicts the number of deaths will continue to rise as latency periods for some of the most serious forms of asbestos-related diseases end.

The analysis of government statistics lists 10 otherNew Jersey counties among the top 100 with the most asbestos-related deaths.GloucesterCounty ranked 50th andBurlingtonCounty is 59th.

Gregg Shivers is aCherry Hill lawyer whose firm has represented some 2,000 asbestos-related injury cases over the past 15 years.

He was surprised byCamdenCounty's high ranking, but said large numbers of county residents once worked in industries that used or made asbestos.

Camden's now-defunct New York Shipyard, for example, used asbestos in ship insulation, and Owens-Corning once manufactured asbestos insulation inBerlin, he said.

Anthony Olivo, 83, is a longtime Deptford resident. He worked around asbestos for 40 years as a pipe welder.

He says he has been coping well with the asbestosis, scarring of the lungs, that he contracted from decades of exposure. But he feels deeply responsible for the death of his wife, Eleanor, of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung linked directly to asbestos.

She died at the age of 82, less than two years after her diagnosis. She was exposed to the fibers from washing her husband's work clothes.

"Had I known, I would have thrown the clothes away and put a new set of clothes on," he said, crying in the living room of their small Cape Cod cottage where his wife spent her last days.

"I don't know why the good Lord didn't give it back to me. She didn't deserve what she got," he said.

The study comes at a time when Congress is debating financial bailout plans for asbestos manufacturers and their insurers.

Asbestos use and exposure peaked in the mid-1970s, the study said.

At that time, more than 3,000 consumer and industrial products contained asbestos, asbestos factories were polluting neighborhoods, workers were exposed on the job and bringing asbestos fibers home to their families. Asbestos was also widely used in many buildings, including factories and schools.

But asbestos-related diseases have a 20- to 50-year latency period, meaning a substantial portion of those exposed in the 1960s and 1970s are just now getting sick or showing up in government statistics, the study concludes.

Shivers expects an increase in the numbers of lung cancer and mesothelioma cases his firm will handle over the next decade because of the long latency periods for these diseases.

During the study period, at least 43,000 Americans died from mesothelioma and asbestosis. But the Environmental Working Group maintains the number could be much higher.

"The actual number of deaths from these two diseases could easily be twice as high due to chronic misdiagnoses of both diseases and the absence of federal tracking for mesothelioma for nearly all of the time period analyzed," the study reported.

The study adds that lung cancer deaths from asbestos exposure are not reported at all and asbestosis, a non-cancer disease, is still "dramatically underreported, even in worker populations where asbestos exposure is well established."

The federal government banned many uses of asbestos in the early 1980s, including use in ranges and ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, deep fryers, electric blankets and popcorn poppers.

At the same time, asbestos remains widely used in brake shoes and roofing products, and can still be found in a number of other products, including cement wallboard, heating duct insulation, boiler insulation, vinyl floor tile and sheet flooring and pipe insulation, the study asserts. It also notes that these products are not required to be labeled as containing asbestos. The group is looking for a complete ban.

 

Cherry Hill Courier Post

 
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PhiladelphiaPennsylvania - Mesothelioma Death

 

Philadelphia Asbestos Verdict - $25.2 million

The Legal Intelligencer – March 20, 2008

The Legal Intelligencer reports that after a reverse-bifurcated trial, aPhiladelphia jury awarded $25.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages to compensate for malignant mesothelioma deaths. Plaintiffs in the three cases requestedKentucky law; two settled after the compensatory damage phase. According to plaintiffs’ attorneys,Kentucky law ultimately permitted the jury to award higher punitive damages than it could underPennsylvania law. Here’s an excerpt:

His case,Baccus v. Crane Co., was brought against the Crane Co., John Crane and Yarway, a company. The defendants sought to haveKentucky law apply to the jury's findings inBaccus and the judge agreed. The jury had previously awarded $7 million in compensatory damages to Baccus and apportioned liability in the amount of 45 percent against John Crane, 35 percent against Crane Co. and 20 percent against Yarway, Shein said.

The jury, applyingKentucky law, also found Yarway and Crane Co. "grossly negligent for failure to warn of the dangers of asbestos in reckless disregard of the safety of others," Shein said. The jurors assessed $11.9 million in punitive damages against Crane Co. and $6.3 million against Yarway.

Shein said this is the first case inPhiladelphia he has seen in more than 20 years in which a jury awarded punitive damages in an asbestos case. He said the standard for applying such damages in an asbestos case inPennsylvania is "much, much higher." He saidPennsylvania usually defers the finding of punitive damages until later in the case whereasKentucky law instructs the court to do it sooner.

The defendants, Shein said, wanted to apply Kentucky law because it uses an apportioned liability standard in which each of the defendants, even those who previously settled, are given an individual portion of liability. ThePennsylvania model is more akin to "in for a penny, in for a pound," Shein said, in which each defendant splits the damages equally.

"The thing kind of backfired on them because the jury held all of the settled defendants zero-percent responsible," he said.

The defendants that settled before the compensatory damages phase of the trial were Ingersoll Rand, THAN, IMO/DeLaval, Westinghouse, OwensIllinois and Goulds Pumps.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/mass_tort_litigation/2008/03/philadelphia-as.html

 
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