Illinois Central Railroad Co. released a statement yesterday regarding a federal jury in Mississippi finding two asbestos plaintiffs lawyers committed fraud and breach of duty. The lawyers, of McComb, Miss., firm Guy & Brock, were found to have filed asbestos claims against Illinois Central Railroad on behalf of two individuals who had been involved in a previous asbestos case, Cosey v. E.D. Bullard Co.
The plaintiffs testified that they told their lawyers about their involvement in the previous case. The jury found that to conceal the previous involvement, the lawyers submitted false information to Illinois Central Railroad. The jury ordered repayment of the $210,000 the plaintiffs received in a settlement for the first claim. It also awarded Illinois Central Railroad $210,000 in punitive damages.
In an e-mail, Mark Behrens, a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, notes the case is the first he's aware of where a jury has found that an asbestos plaintiffs lawyers committed fraud.