What's Next After Garlock?

February 11, 2014

An aggressive fight from a defendant that suspected improprieties by plaintiffs could have big implications for future cases, Law 360 reports. As we’ve mentioned before, Garlock became the first defendant to successfully access the bankruptcy trust records.

In a carefully worded opinion, the judge predicted that “it appears certain that more extensive discovery would show more extensive abuse.”

It appears that other judges have taken notice. Three weeks after the Garlock decision, the Rhode Island Superior Court allowed discovery of claim forms that a plaintiff submitted to multiple trusts. While the court didn’t specify whether the forms would be admissible at trial, the defendant says they could help “impeach” the plaintiff’s credibility if the allegations are inconsistent.

“The Garlock decision is an incredibly powerful indictment of the plaintiffs bar about the way they've been pursuing these cases,” ILR president Lisa Rickard told Law 360. “We're hopeful that other members of the judiciary will follow Judge Hodges' example in exposing fraud and abuse in the asbestos compensation system, and that Congress will take action as a result.”