How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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To help Evan achieve that objective, bloggers might link to this post always using the words "Madison County Record" to effect a Google bomb.


Nic: You're a fine reader--always looking out for me!


For all the complaints about the Madison County Record, I found it fascinating that if one wanted to learn about the fraud Luke Lindau's lawyers perpetrated on the court, one had to read the investigative reporting of the Belleville News-Democrat, because all the Madison County Record did was print a one-sided account directly from the plaintiff's attorney, who got a more detailed airing in the Record than anywhere else. Perhaps Schaeffer can point to a news story where the Record has acted inappropriately against the plaintiffs' bar?


And as long as we're talking about frauds, perhaps you can tell us who funds the Center for Justice and Democracy. Their recent "fact sheet" on medical malpractice reform was certainly fraudulent.


Ted: From the "about" page on the CJ&D website: "CJ&D, which is funded by subscriptions, memberships, donations and foundation grants, is not connected to any business or trial lawyer organization."


Ted: In another comment, you write, "Perhaps Schaeffer can point to a news story where the Record has acted inappropriately against the plaintiffs' bar?"

The point isn't that the newspaper acted inappropriategly against the plaintiffs' bar--lots of publications do that and it comes with the territory. Instead, the point is that the newspaper breached the trust of its readers--the citizens of Madison county--while at the same time, through the totality of its coverage of the courts, attempting to undermine those citizens' constitutional rights to seek redress for injuries negligently or intentionally caused.

As for Lindau's lawyers working a "fraud" on the court, perhaps you'd better explain what you mean: those are fighting words, yet your post at overlawyered doesn't use those words, and there is nothing in the news coverage from any organization that supports your implied claim that Lindau's testimony about SIU-Edwardsville was knowingly false and/or that his attorneys knew it was. If there was anything untoward going on, it wasn't successful--the appellate court was getting ready to consider the defendants' issues when the case settled. I would expect you to applaud the Illinois courts for the Lindau case, not continue to denigrate them.

Finally, your claim in the overlawyered post that "many defendants, expecting to be railroaded, don't even bother to litigate asbestos cases once they've been sued in Madison County" is just laughingly silly--not to mentioned unsupported by the link you provide to back your statement up.


Mr. Frank:

In your post at overlawyered you write: "Lindau [claimed] that he was exposed to asbestos during the construction of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1959-1962. Unfortunately for this theory, it was SIU-Carbondale that was being built then; ground wasn't broken on the Edwardsville campus until 1963."

That does not seem like a very powerful argument to me. I can't remember where I worked four years ago. I imagine remembering what I did 40 years ago will be even more difficult. So your argument as to these dates are underwhelming.

Moreover, did the plaintiff's story change after being "exposed" a "fraud"? Or did he contend, "Hell, I guess I was wrong about the dates. I but do remember that I worked on SIU." Defense counsel could attack his memory on cross-examination, but that's a far cry from proving a "fraud."

You also write that "The plaintiff settled--either to get money immediately or to avoid an adverse precedent for future plaintiffs[ ]." I'm not sure how that follows. Maybe the plaintiff settled because, as you noted, Lindau had "already exceeded average life expectancy." Perhaps the "78-year-old" wanted to get the money before he died.

I'm not saying that your conclusions are incorrect. But they are not supported very well.


"Fraud" is too strong, because the evidence is only circumstantial, and the word has connotations of crime in the context I used it, when I meant it in the same loose sense that Evan meant it when referring to the Record. I therefore retract the use of that word.

I do think a U.S. Attorney investigation into what's gone on in Madison County asbestos cases over the last five years would be fruitful, as does a former Attorney General from the Carter administration. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a useful expose, as well. See the asbestos section of pointoflaw.com.

Evan has yet to identify a single particular thing the Madison County Record has done improperly journalistically -- he doesn't know the politics of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's publisher, or those of the Edwardsville Intelligencer's, but somehow the fact that the MCRecord's funding corresponds to the open position of the op-ed page creates a problem, even as he has no evidence that it has affected the coverage in the news sections of the paper.

And Evan shows a certain chutzpah when he parrots the CJD's self-serving claims and pretends that that resolves the issue. It's telling that the one sentence he quotes, crafted nicely as it is with lawyerly evasions, is the only disclosure the CJD makes about its funding on its website. I think it's fair to draw the adverse inference.


The latest travesty from the Center for Justice and Democracy are the Zany Immunity Law Awards.

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