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(NJ.com)   Defendants in asbestos-related wrongful death civil suit confiscate plaintiff's body at the cemetery just as his family was trying to bury him. Can't we all just get a lung?   (nj.com) divider line
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6368 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Mar 2009 at 7:24 PM (10 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2009-03-10 06:14:58 PM  
+1
 
2009-03-10 06:18:13 PM  
Hey, you guys sued over his death. Don't cry foul if the defendants want access to his body for an autopsy, and if a judge agrees they can get it.
 
2009-03-10 06:20:26 PM  
FTFA

Moshe Maimon, a lawyer representing the St. John family, said the defendants had already received tissue samples from a Florida hospital where St. John was first diagnosed with the disease.


so why do they need that autopsy kronicfeld?
 
2009-03-10 06:23:03 PM  

cannotsuggestaname: so why do they need that autopsy kronicfeld?


I'm not a doctor. Let's let the judge hear from one.
 
2009-03-10 06:29:59 PM  
they have. As it stands right now it is 50/50 between the judges on this issue ;)


One did not think the defendants needed an autopsy, the other thought they might need one.
 
2009-03-10 06:32:18 PM  

cannotsuggestaname: One did not think the defendants needed an autopsy, the other thought they might need one.


No, the only judge who heard the matter apparently didn't hold an evidentiary hearing, and the appellate court told him that as a matter of law he was wrong not to hold one, and that one should be held before deciding on the defendants' request.
 
2009-03-10 06:40:30 PM  
when mesothelioma killed my dad, i ordered an autopsy because when he was diagnosed his condition was such that the doctor said he wouldn't survive the diagnostic procedure.

glad i did as it paid off well for my mom.
 
2009-03-10 06:47:47 PM  

kronicfeld: cannotsuggestaname: One did not think the defendants needed an autopsy, the other thought they might need one.

No, the only judge who heard the matter apparently didn't hold an evidentiary hearing, and the appellate court told him that as a matter of law he was wrong not to hold one, and that one should be held before deciding on the defendants' request.



I'd think that if it was plaintiffs' claim that mesothelioma was the direct cause of death, defendants should be able to obtain autopsy results to challenge. Seriously, plaintiffs shouldn't have an issue with this if the dude actually died of it. I mean, should they?

/I only play lawyer, I amn't one in real life. I can do criminal law stuff passably, but not this strange and frightening injury/wrongful death talk.
 
2009-03-10 07:03:52 PM  

dahmers love zombie: /I only play lawyer, I amn't one in real life. I can do criminal law stuff passably, but not this strange and frightening injury/wrongful death talk.


***DOINK DOINK***
 
2009-03-10 07:21:52 PM  

snuffy: when mesothelioma killed my dad, i ordered an autopsy because when he was diagnosed his condition was such that the doctor said he wouldn't survive the diagnostic procedure.

glad i did as it paid off well for my mom.


My dad passed away from mesothelioma last month. The pulmonary doctor and the oncologist listed "cause of death" on the death certificate as "mesothelioma." They've got the x-rays, the chemo records, the tissue samples.

Good luck on an autopsy - Dad's ashes are at the National Cemetery.

/Lawyers quite surprised by Dad's complete paper trail of pay stubs back to 1958. Your move, counselor.
 
2009-03-10 07:30:54 PM  
Maybe they want to check to make sure he really didn't die from something else. Hell, even if he had mesothelioma, maybe something random actually caused his death, making the necessary settlement less.

/not a doctor
//or a lawyer
 
2009-03-10 07:31:32 PM  

kronicfeld: Hey, you guys sued over his death. Don't cry foul if the defendants want access to his body for an autopsy, and if a judge agrees they can get it.


Good old Rule 34.
 
2009-03-10 07:32:51 PM  
Can't we all just get a lung?

Inspired.
 
2009-03-10 07:35:53 PM  
I got some nail from a leper recently.
 
2009-03-10 07:36:47 PM  
My brother died of mesothelioma in 2001. He was 60, and had worked on ship's radar installations in the Navy in the early 1960's, when they were packed with asbestos. It's a horrible way to go -- he went from healthy and vigorous to a living skeleton in just four months.
My sympathies to DarthBrooks and snuffy, and anyone else who has been touched by this.
 
2009-03-10 07:41:30 PM  
Something to remember, though, is the huge number of "Have you ever been anywhere near asbestos? You might have mesothelioma, let's sue someone you worked for a half-century ago" commercials on late night TV.

Even if 99% of the people who claimed to have died from the disease actually had it, that 1% adds up to a huge pile of cash.

Look at this case, for example. The guy was exposed to come amount of asbestos while working in a family-owned shop in the 50s and 60s, then worked as a baggage handler for a quarter-century. So his family is suing the people who made brake pads for cars.

There are lots of ways this could be screwed up, from "did he smoke?" to "was the tissue sample from out of state really his, and did it truly indicate mesothelioma?" There are enough doctor-shopping lawyers (and dishonest doctors who help them out) to make an independent autopsy important.
 
2009-03-10 07:44:59 PM  
they were pulling asbestos out of the secret tunnels under main street here in downtown this past week

/hmm somebody's at the door
 
2009-03-10 07:50:34 PM  

the_farking_ledge: they were pulling asbestos out of the secret tunnels under main street here in downtown this past week

/hmm somebody's at the door


Your city has secret tunnels too, eh?

Don't know if ours do, but there's a couple of rooms at the law schools with asbestos warnings featured prominently on the door.

My department was built in the 50s, and it looked like they barely touched it since then, down to most of the furniture. I wouldn't be surprised myself, considering.
 
2009-03-10 07:54:51 PM  
I've heard that they bury them as cremation is difficult.
 
2009-03-10 07:56:07 PM  

cirby: There are enough doctor-shopping lawyers (and dishonest doctors who help them out) to make an independent autopsy important.


Let's not go calling an autopsy by the defendants' expert "independent." And, yes, I know that in many states it's called an "independent medical examination." Misnomer.
 
2009-03-10 08:11:57 PM  

dahmers love zombie: kronicfeld: cannotsuggestaname: One did not think the defendants needed an autopsy, the other thought they might need one.

No, the only judge who heard the matter apparently didn't hold an evidentiary hearing, and the appellate court told him that as a matter of law he was wrong not to hold one, and that one should be held before deciding on the defendants' request.


I'd think that if it was plaintiffs' claim that mesothelioma was the direct cause of death, defendants should be able to obtain autopsy results to challenge. Seriously, plaintiffs shouldn't have an issue with this if the dude actually died of it. I mean, should they?

/I only play lawyer, I amn't one in real life. I can do criminal law stuff passably, but not this strange and frightening injury/wrongful death talk.


There's an issue of timing and evidentiary sufficiency. If a coroner has already ruled on a cause of death, there might be enough evidence available through that.

It's also possible that the defendant unduly delayed their request for an autopsy. It's standard procedure that bodies are buried within a few days of death. If defendant had proper notice of the decedent's death, but failed to make a request for an autopsy in a reasonable time, they shouldn't be rewarded by being allowed to disrupt the funeral. They may even have delayed intentionally as an obnoxious litigation tactic.
 
2009-03-10 08:15:42 PM  
I got farked. If only my father had died at 75 of something that could have been blamed on someone else. Not just anyone. Someone or something with lots of money. Wait until the excuses from all of these 80y/o boomers who croak. No one just dies anymore. No, they were put into a grave by evildoers.. evildoers with insurance.
 
2009-03-10 08:20:48 PM  
this, folks, is why we fark. i couldn't care any less about article.
/+1
 
2009-03-10 08:22:06 PM  
I seem to remember that many (if not all all) of these mesothelioma settlements are contingent upon a proper autopsy being done on the body to confirm the diagnoses. In any case, the guy is already dead and wouldn't mind someone prodding around his rotten innards, especially to insure a hefty payout to his survivors.
 
2009-03-10 08:26:44 PM  

Kierkegaard's Pseudonym: I seem to remember that many (if not all all) of these mesothelioma settlements are contingent upon a proper autopsy being done on the body to confirm the diagnoses. In any case, the guy is already dead and wouldn't mind someone prodding around his rotten innards, especially to insure a hefty payout to his survivors.


This. If something unlawful/wrong kills me, they are free to turn me into kibble if it keeps my kids comfortable for a while.
 
2009-03-10 08:27:53 PM  
fitsnews.comView Full Size
 
2009-03-10 08:30:01 PM  
This wont contaminate the jury pool at all.
 
2009-03-10 08:41:31 PM  
Meso cases - ye gods. Most of the major defendants went bankrupt years ago and the insurance policies were exhausted a a few years after that. Now, it's mostly just a bunch of lawyers going after people tangentially related to asbestos production and use trying to wrestle money here and there to maybe build up a nice global settlement from hundreds of nuisance/cost-of-defense settlements, mainly under specious negligence/failure to warn theories. New Orleans was a hot bed of asbestos litigation, and one of the reasons the ABA slapped us with the dreaded "judicial hell hole" designation. I played in the meso litigation swamp for a bit. Nasty business. Don't want to go back.
 
2009-03-10 08:43:32 PM  

Daleduggins: I've heard that they bury them as cremation is difficult.


It's not funny. I shouldn't laugh at this. And yet the intertubes have deteriorated my sense of humor so far that I do find myself giggling.
 
2009-03-10 08:45:39 PM  
I have sympathy for the family of the plaintiff, but if they were serious about continuing the lawsuit, they should have had an autopsy done when he died. So now they shouldn't really surprised when the defendants want an autopsy to confirm what actually killed him.
 
2009-03-10 08:46:12 PM  
If you've been exposed to asbestos in the last 50 years, get tested.

If they find it early enough with a chest x-ray and a follow-up biopsy, you'll get *years* extra on your life. A lot of chemo that didn't exist five years ago is now used as standard treatment today.

Biggest problem with this horrible disease is that it presents like a simple cold that comes and goes. If your doctor isn't keyed in on looking for it, it might get missed, or even misdiagnosed. Like everything else, early detection is critical.
 
2009-03-10 08:53:48 PM  
Also, about the autopsy requirement: if the plaintiff was being treated for mesothelioma, there shouldn't be a need to conduct an autopsy to determine whether or not he had mesothelioma. Diagnosis is made by a biopsy while the patient is alive, and is usually monitored by something called a Mesomark Assay. The assay tracks soluble mesothelin-related proteins (SMRPs) in the bloodstream during treatment. There would also be chest xrays and MRIs for the entire course of treatment.
 
2009-03-10 08:57:27 PM  

DarthBrooks: Also, about the autopsy requirement: if the plaintiff was being treated for mesothelioma, there shouldn't be a need to conduct an autopsy to determine whether or not he had mesothelioma. Diagnosis is made by a biopsy while the patient is alive, and is usually monitored by something called a Mesomark Assay. The assay tracks soluble mesothelin-related proteins (SMRPs) in the bloodstream during treatment. There would also be chest xrays and MRIs for the entire course of treatment.


Seems to me that the autopsy is not to determine whether he had mesothelioma, but whether it was the cause of his death. An autopsy would be essential to determining that, because I am sure the plaintiffs intend to argue that he died as a result and not another unrelated condition.

Ever sat in on a pre-suit discovery perpetuation deposition in someone's house with a dozen lawyers with a guy in an oxygen tent who is literally hours from croaking? Good times.
 
2009-03-10 08:57:44 PM  
for the love of.......People die, deal with it. You don't sue every company you did business with your entire life.
 
2009-03-10 09:07:11 PM  
Nabb1:
Ever sat in on a pre-suit discovery perpetuation deposition in someone's house with a dozen lawyers with a guy in an oxygen tent who is literally hours from croaking? Good times.

Yep. We called that "Thanksgiving with Dad."

Nothing like spending your last weeks on Earth with a bunch of guys flown in to ask about your pay stubs from 1963.

RIP, Dad.
 
2009-03-10 09:11:16 PM  

DarthBrooks: Nabb1:
Ever sat in on a pre-suit discovery perpetuation deposition in someone's house with a dozen lawyers with a guy in an oxygen tent who is literally hours from croaking? Good times.

Yep. We called that "Thanksgiving with Dad."

Nothing like spending your last weeks on Earth with a bunch of guys flown in to ask about your pay stubs from 1963.

RIP, Dad.


Sorry to hear about that. Like I said - it was a nasty business in litigation, and I wouldn't go back for all the tea in China.

Sorry about the "croaking" thing, too. That was a little crass.
 
2009-03-10 09:11:24 PM  

Nabb1: Seems to me that the autopsy is not to determine whether he had mesothelioma, but whether it was the cause of his death. An autopsy would be essential to determining that, because I am sure the plaintiffs intend to argue that he died as a result and not another unrelated condition.


They'll likely argue a heart condition if they can find any evidence of it. Never mind that reduced lung function tends to wear one's heart out due to low oxygen levels in the blood, which may be directly caused by the damage to the lungs, but if his heart stopped before he died it technically wasn't his lungs that killed him. It's generally the opening move in any of these cases.

I'm surprised an autopsy wasn't already done, personally. One was required by the insurance company when my uncle died to verify the cause of death. (He was also tied up in one of these stupid suits.) They made the same argument.
 
2009-03-10 09:13:21 PM  

stuffy: This wont contaminate the jury pool at all.


This.
 
2009-03-10 09:24:51 PM  

Nabb1: Sorry about the "croaking" thing, too. That was a little crass.


No prob. I'm sure you've seen enough people on the downhill side of this. Dad was my introduction to what meso does.

He went from a guy who chopped wood, played honky-tonk piano and hauled bricks building a patio in his backyard to a whisper of his former self in just a year. Watching this disease destroy him so fast, and *knowing* that the disease would eventually freeze his lungs and crush his heart was the worst kind of death anyone could imagine.

The situation of this fellow in NJ with Chrysler sounds more like a bunch of bad lawyering on both sides. If they wanted an autopsy, this should have been part of the motions to the court *before* his death. Bad form, and no doubt little to gain for the defendants.
 
2009-03-10 09:28:13 PM  

Daleduggins: I've heard that they bury them as cremation is difficult.


Cold. I LOL'd. That was wrong of me.
 
2009-03-10 09:29:29 PM  

Nabb1: Meso cases - ye gods. Most of the major defendants went bankrupt years ago and the insurance policies were exhausted a a few years after that. Now, it's mostly just a bunch of lawyers going after people tangentially related to asbestos production and use trying to wrestle money here and there to maybe build up a nice global settlement from hundreds of nuisance/cost-of-defense settlements, mainly under specious negligence/failure to warn theories. New Orleans was a hot bed of asbestos litigation, and one of the reasons the ABA slapped us with the dreaded "judicial hell hole" designation. I played in the meso litigation swamp for a bit. Nasty business. Don't want to go back.


Agreed. Companies aer being sued that had nothing to do with asbestos, much less any responsibility for making anyone sick.
 
Ral
2009-03-10 09:40:24 PM  

kronicfeld: Hey, you guys sued over his death. Don't cry foul if the defendants want access to his body for an autopsy, and if a judge agrees they can get it.


Yup. The body is evidence in a lawsuit over wrongful death. The defense is entitled to have the evidence examined by a third party of their choosing. Considering what they are being accused of, it's certainly reasonable. The company isn't doing it to be a dick to the family.
 
2009-03-10 09:47:25 PM  
"This is beyond ruthless," St. John's widow, Diane, said outside a courtroom yesterday, the first day of what is expected to be a three-day hearing on the issue. "This is the lowest thing possible. To hurt my grandchildren, to hurt my husband like this."

.....How DARE they demand an autopsy, I don't see any reason for things like evidence. Just write me a check and go away.
 
2009-03-10 10:28:07 PM  
Eh, if they didn't want the trouble of providing evidence to defendants, nobody was forcing them to litigate at all... drop the suit and bury the guy... but no... they're irate enough to whine to the media, but not irate enough to forego getting their money.
 
2009-03-10 11:52:56 PM  

lajimi: "This is beyond ruthless," St. John's widow, Diane, said outside a courtroom yesterday, the first day of what is expected to be a three-day hearing on the issue. "This is the lowest thing possible. To hurt my grandchildren, to hurt my husband like this."

.....How DARE they demand an autopsy, I don't see any reason for things like evidence. Just write me a check and go away.


This is how asbestos litigation has been waged by the main players for the last 15 years, so why change models now?
 
2009-03-11 12:17:01 AM  

kronicfeld: Hey, you guys sued over his death. Don't cry foul if the defendants want access to his body for an autopsy, and if a judge agrees they can get it.


Yeah how silly of them to seek redress through the courts. Sounds like the judge farked this one up right royally.
 
2009-03-11 02:27:04 AM  
I've always wondered what the ratios of lives saved vs lives lost due to asbestos. Once it started being used for brake shoes, it dropped the accident rate substantially to the point were is has saved far more than a million lives. Its use as a fire stop helped shape modern fire-resistant building techniques. I've always seen this substance as sort of a poster child for the Yen and Yang of chemical progress.
 
2009-03-11 05:54:25 AM  
If the family is going to sue over asbestos, it's asinine to try to bury the evidence. Of COURSE the defendants are going to need the body, what did the family expect?

If you read the article, you'll see that the family basically spammed lawsuits in all directions. It's an untargeted fishing expedition, probably instigated by some lawyer looking for a big score.
 
2009-03-11 08:42:50 AM  
Because it's a lot harder to get an exhumation? I would assume this has something to do with it.

I can see the "do you have mesothelioma" TV ads right now, damn lawyers chasing down people to get a pay day. Of course they want the body, it's the evidence.
 
2009-03-11 10:08:25 AM  
There's probably a question about whether the guy smoked, which can be a sticky point in asbestos litigation. There's a synergistic effect between asbestos and smoking, so everyone would probably like to confirm it was Mesothelioma that killed instead of ordinary lung cancer. Although, if there's already tissue samples present, an analysis with a Tunneling Electron Microscope would pick out the asbestos structures in the samples. Odd...

Now, just wait until regulation passes that oversees ALL "bio-persistent" fibers such as fiberglass, ceramic fibers, etc. These others aren't as resperible as asbestos, but lawyers don't know that, and the courts will clog with people wanting some money.
 
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