About


Our Mission

The Asbestos Double-Victims Workgroup was formed to explore the idea that current – and future – changes in the asbestos litigation world is going to impact people already suffering from asbestos disease. These individuals and their families are already victims of America's longest-running personal injury challenge; now they might become victims of the very legal system they turned to.

This can happen when victims identify products or companies when applying for compensation from one of some 100 bankruptcy trusts established to meet asbestos company liabilities. Sometimes, those identifications are not then noted in civil action against non-bankrupt companies. There is a landmark case called "Garlock" in North Carolina that seems to indicate this is a fairly common practice – but perhaps not.

There are currently new civil racketeering lawsuits that will bring this to the spotlight, and it's a sure bet that families who settled their claims or received jury awards have little or no idea that asbestos litigation policy is about to become part of their lives. We also know that a Donald Trump-led federal government is very likely to take a hard stance on personal injury litigation in general, and this sort of "double dipping" in particular. We hope to get "in front" of that and create research to help build eventual policy.

Asbestos litigation has been around for decades and impacted thousands of American families. Our goal is to make sure those victims have a voice in policies and practices that could very well leave them re-visiting one of the more tragic episodes in modern industrial history.

committee


Who we are

The informal organizing committee for the Asbestos Double-Victims Workgroup is connected by a concern about next-generation policies that might impact individuals and families that have already faced tragedy from America's longest-running personal injury litigation. Some are connected via participation in "UnSettled," the documentary from Canadian journalist Paul Johnson. Others are long-standing observers of asbestos issues – a couple are even attorneys.

Judge John Brieden

Judge Brieden is the elected judge in Washington County, Texas and a past national commander of The American Legion. He is also featured in the Paul Johnson Film "UnSettled: Inside the Strange World of Asbestos Lawsuits."

Mike Lampe

Mr. Lampe is a California-based attorney featured in "UnSettled: Inside the Strange World of Asbestos Lawsuits."


Barry Bortnick


Mr. Bortnick is a Colorado-based author and investigative reporter.


Judge John Brieden

Judge Brieden is the elected judge in Washington County, Texas and a past national commander of The American Legion. He is also featured in the Paul Johnson Film "UnSettled: Inside the Strange World of Asbestos Lawsuits."

Mike Lampe

Mr. Lampe is a California-based attorney featured in "UnSettled: Inside the Strange World of Asbestos Lawsuits."

Barry Bortnick


Mr. Bortnick is a Colorado-based author and investigative reporter.

Bill of rights


Victim bill of rights

By voluntary and mutual agreement with their attorney, clients shall have the right to:

  • I.

    ... have all aspects of the retainer agreement explained, ensuring that client understands the terms of agreement with an affirmative yes, and receive a copy of agreement.

  • II.

    ... have the concept of gross vs net when calculating the final payout (to client) fully explained and acknowledged. (Many firms take expenses off the gross, and while this is commonplace, better communication of the concept can avoid disagreements at settlement.)

  • III.

    ... have all aspects of contingency fee explained, including potential future developments, and to be free of increased contingency percentage without written consent of client. (We understand that attorneys assume the liability and costs upfront and that there can be unforeseen/not anticipated costs but the accounting needs to be specific.)

  • IV.

    ... be notified, in writing, if their case is being referred to another attorney and the terms of the conveyance.

  • V.

    ... be notified, in writing, if their attorney or their attorney’s immediate family has any business interest in vendors being used for the case, including document prep firms or transportation/filing companies or any other service that would be a conflict of interest.

  • VI.

    ... be notified and informed if their case is being discussed in consideration with any other case for settlement or other considerations.

  • VII.

    .... receive detailed cost estimates for anticipated expenses, including all invoices and payment records, if asked to apply settlements toward costs; also to receive detailed accounting before payments are made upon settlement.

  • VIII.

    ... be informed about what costs and expenses become their responsibility if, in the course of the case, they decide to switch attorneys; to know what terms will be for any outstanding expenses if they change attorneys for any reason.

  • IX.

    ... acknowledge and understand provisions to pay any legal fees based upon actions taken upon advice of the attorney.

  • X.

    ... remain free of coercion to perjury, either via “signing blank documents” or other practices, including over-coaching to introduce new evidence, creation of “memories” or other practices that deviate from direct and original personal recollections.

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