CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The law firm Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC, filed a counterclaim today in federal court alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and other claims against asbestos gasket manufacturer Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC.
The counterclaim is asserted in response to a January 2014 RICO claim filed by Garlock against the Dallas-based law firm, which represents victims and their families in cases involving mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
In its counterclaim, Simon Greenstone alleges that Garlock and Garrison Litigation Management Group, which manages Garlock's asbestos litigation, "made and caused others to make false and fraudulent misrepresentations in asbestos personal injury and wrongful death litigation and knowingly withheld evidence of the dangers of Garlock's products, and Garlock's knowledge of those dangers, in order to depress verdicts and settlements obtained by individuals represented by Simon Greenstone."
Among the highlights of the counterclaim filed in Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, et al. v. Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, et al., No. 3:14-CV-00116:
- In its lawsuit against Simon Greenstone, Garlock and Garrison claim that "plaintiffs dying of mesothelioma, at their lawyers' urging, concealed the existence of plaintiff's historical exposure to asbestos-containing thermal insulation. Yet, in each case, there is clear testimony from the plaintiff of his exposure to thermal insulation that Garlock and Garrison simply ignore for the purpose of contriving fraudulent claims against Simon Greenstone. It is Garlock and Garrison, not Simon Greenstone, that have engaged in a startling pattern of misrepresentation." (p. 64)
- Garlock showed every desire to settle and little inclination to take mesothelioma cases to trial. In one case, even when the plaintiff and the plaintiff's experts had testified to exposure to amphibole insulating products, "Garlock and Garrison's attorney agreed to a settlement figure 42 minutes after [Garlock's lawyer's] initial email seeking to settle the case." (p. 75)
- "Garlock and Garrison's ulterior purpose in bringing the RICO Lawsuit against Simon Greenstone was to gain improper leverage against Simon Greenstone in the Garlock Bankruptcy by putting Simon Greenstone at financial risk with threats of economic harm through the damages pled in the RICO Lawsuit and by damaging Simon Greenstone's reputation." (p. 64)
The counterclaim alleges that, in the underlying lawsuits, Garlock, rather than Simon Greenstone, gave false answers to sworn interrogatories and failed to produce evidence in its possession that contradicted its claims:
- Garlock claimed that it did not learn of the relationship between exposure to asbestos fibers and lung cancer until the "early 1970's," "But in truth, Garlock learned no later than March of 1956, at a meeting of the Asbestos Textile Institute, that exposures to asbestos as short as six months cause lung cancer." (p. 42)
- In the underlying lawsuits, Garlock repeatedly claimed that there was no "competent scientific or medical evidence" that Garlock's asbestos-containing products posed a health hazard – even though Garlock's own documents state that the products can be hazardous when "subjected to mechanical actions that would cause the asbestos fibers to be released," such as occurred during removal of the gaskets. (p. 41)
- During discovery in the underlying lawsuits, while still claiming that no precautions were necessary when working with asbestos gaskets, Garlock withheld a 1980 "Garlock Gasketing Materials Manual" in which Garlock admitted the need to "Avoid creating dust. Breathing asbestos dust may cause serious bodily harm." Simon Greenstone did not know about this document until it found a copy on eBay. (p. 59)
To obtain an electronic version of Simon Greenstone's response and counterclaim, contact Amy Hunt at 214-801-8116 or [email protected].
SOURCE Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC