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(The Hill)   Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) sues 70 companies, blaming her lung cancer on childhood asbestos exposure, adulthood tobacco exposure. Tort reform surrenders   (thehill.com ) divider line
    More: Asinine, tort reform  
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899 clicks; posted to Politics » on 12 Nov 2013 at 8:57 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-12 08:36:25 AM  
Tort reform should surrender. It's yet another asinine way to make sure normal people get screwed while saving those at fault lots of money.
 
2013-11-12 09:02:08 AM  
biatchin' shame. Fresh out of sympathy for the parasite.
 
2013-11-12 09:04:08 AM  
Huh.

If 69 are tossed out a frivolous, and one is a multimillion dollar settlement, does she come out ahead?

Legal casino.
 
2013-11-12 09:06:06 AM  
While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer

Oh.
 
2013-11-12 09:10:42 AM  
She should just hire John Edwards.
 
2013-11-12 09:12:03 AM  
What if she's right?
 
2013-11-12 09:14:06 AM  
The suit claims McCarthy was exposed to asbestos as a child while washing the clothes of her father, who worked in Navy yards, where he came in contact with the material.

Oh, ffs.

Look, cancer sucks and all but smokers with lung cancer who go all sue happy also suck.
 
2013-11-12 09:19:04 AM  
Blouin said McCarthy's long history of smoking likely also contributed to her cancer, according to Newsday.

What a twunt.
 
2013-11-12 09:19:37 AM  

quatchi: Look, cancer sucks and all but smokers with lung cancer who go all sue happy also suck.



While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer, he said studies show smokers are 4,000 more likely to get lung cancer after exposure to asbestos.
 
2013-11-12 09:20:05 AM  
I think that she would have to prove which one of the companies products caused her cancer and that it wasn't caused by her own voluntary tobacco use. I would also argue that the warning label "Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health" was first put on cigarettes in the USA in 1966 and some permutation of that warning has been on the packages ever since. If she smoked any cigarette following that year she was aware of the danger and is responsible for her own actions.

I also don't understand how the government is not also named suits such as this. They contract, subsidize and profit from tobacco and even have a department to control the product.
 
2013-11-12 09:23:50 AM  

Whodat: I think that she would have to prove which one of the companies products caused her cancer and that it wasn't caused by her own voluntary tobacco use. I would also argue that the warning label "Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health" was first put on cigarettes in the USA in 1966 and some permutation of that warning has been on the packages ever since. If she smoked any cigarette following that year she was aware of the danger and is responsible for her own actions.


The tobacco lawsuit settlement from '98 disagrees with your assessment.

I also don't understand how the government is not also named suits such as this. They contract, subsidize and profit from tobacco and even have a department to control the product.

Same reason you don't sue the SEC for the Madoff scandal
 
2013-11-12 09:37:30 AM  

Zeb Hesselgresser: While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer

Oh.


In liability law it does not matter if she played a role, if the other party can be shown to be liable they can be subject to a judgement.
 
2013-11-12 09:42:13 AM  

monoski: In liability law it does not matter if she played a role, if the other party can be shown to be liable they can be subject to a judgement.


hilariously, the "poster" you are responding to omitted the second half of the relevant sentence
 
2013-11-12 09:43:12 AM  
Astonishing that people are actually defending her here. Does the trial lawyers association have paid shills on fark or is it simply because she has a (D) after her name?
 
2013-11-12 09:46:49 AM  

Jackson Herring: quatchi: Look, cancer sucks and all but smokers with lung cancer who go all sue happy also suck.


While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer, he said studies show smokers are 4,000 more likely to get lung cancer after exposure to asbestos.


4,000 what? 4,000 times? 4,000%? What the hell does that mean?
 
2013-11-12 09:54:49 AM  

monoski: Zeb Hesselgresser: While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer

Oh.

In liability law it does not matter if she played a role, if the other party can be shown to be liable they can be subject to a judgement.


Yes, I get that.  It's sad when anyone develops cancer, however my sympathy level drops a level or two for smokers with lung cancer.  It's still sad.
 
2013-11-12 09:55:32 AM  

Whodat: I think that she would have to prove which one of the companies products caused her cancer and that it wasn't caused by her own voluntary tobacco use. I would also argue that the warning label "Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health" was first put on cigarettes in the USA in 1966 and some permutation of that warning has been on the packages ever since. If she smoked any cigarette following that year she was aware of the danger and is responsible for her own actions.

I also don't understand how the government is not also named suits such as this. They contract, subsidize and profit from tobacco and even have a department to control the product.


Sovereign immunity. The US and most states have limited waivers on it, but doubtful they've waived claims as indirect as what you are describing.
 
2013-11-12 09:58:51 AM  
As the noted poet Dennis Leary once said: "Life's tough, get a helmet"
 
2013-11-12 10:12:08 AM  

Debeo Summa Credo: Astonishing that people are actually defending her here. Does the trial lawyers association have paid shills on fark or is it simply because she has a (D) after her name?


If you have a (D) after your name, The Total Fark hive-mind will defend you. When things get rough, the mainstays will vanish and weave a tapestry of alts.
 
2013-11-12 10:27:36 AM  
Yes, because every suit that goes to court is automatically decided in favor of the plaintiff and the only question for the jurors too stupid to get out of jury duty is do they make the damages a billion, a kajillion, or a billion-kajillion.  Oh, and the appeals courts always hold up the award amount.

/asinine tag for subby who didn't manage to stay awake during the part of civics class that covered the judicial system.
 
2013-11-12 10:28:18 AM  

Zeb Hesselgresser: monoski: Zeb Hesselgresser: While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer

Oh.

In liability law it does not matter if she played a role, if the other party can be shown to be liable they can be subject to a judgement.

Yes, I get that.  It's sad when anyone develops cancer, however my sympathy level drops a level or two for smokers with lung cancer.  It's still sad.


Often has an impact on settlements also so there is some accounting for the individual's role
 
2013-11-12 10:28:55 AM  

Jackson Herring: quatchi: Look, cancer sucks and all but smokers with lung cancer who go all sue happy also suck.

While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer, he said studies show smokers are 4,000 more likely to get lung cancer after exposure to asbestos.


I'm going to go ahead and change what you bolded to emphasize something different.
 
2013-11-12 10:30:43 AM  

pueblonative: Yes, because every suit that goes to court is automatically decided in favor of the plaintiff and the only question for the jurors too stupid to get out of jury duty is do they make the damages a billion, a kajillion, or a billion-kajillion.  Oh, and the appeals courts always hold up the award amount.

/asinine tag for subby who didn't manage to stay awake during the part of civics class that covered the judicial system.


I bet subby thinks someone could win millions because their coffee is hot!
 
2013-11-12 10:41:32 AM  
We should really ban the people capable of putting loopholes and bullshiat in the law from suing anyone over anything for at least a few decades after finishing their term.
 
2013-11-12 10:44:52 AM  
Suing 70 companies seems excessive, but how else to seek damages against a vague number of potentially liable groups?

I'd suggest that she knows her suits won't get anywhere. The mere fact of bringing so many will probably trigger them to be thrown out.  Perhaps she knows this and is just trying to draw attention to the issue/her political career?

I'm no lawyer, but I would think pinning down the cause of her cancer would be difficult despite the research. Was it really the asbestos or was it general air pollution?

monoski: Zeb Hesselgresser: While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer

Oh.

In liability law it does not matter if she played a role, if the other party can be shown to be liable they can be subject to a judgement.


I'm blanking on the term, but often the claimant can be found to be partially responsible, decreasing the judgment by that amount. i.e. Maybe she is found to be 70% responsible, leaving 30% for the other party.
 
2013-11-12 10:50:04 AM  

nocturnal001: Suing 70 companies seems excessive, but how else to seek damages against a vague number of potentially liable groups?

I'd suggest that she knows her suits won't get anywhere. The mere fact of bringing so many will probably trigger them to be thrown out.  Perhaps she knows this and is just trying to draw attention to the issue/her political career?

I'm no lawyer, but I would think pinning down the cause of her cancer would be difficult despite the research. Was it really the asbestos or was it general air pollution?

monoski: Zeb Hesselgresser: While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer

Oh.

In liability law it does not matter if she played a role, if the other party can be shown to be liable they can be subject to a judgement.

I'm blanking on the term, but often the claimant can be found to be partially responsible, decreasing the judgment by that amount. i.e. Maybe she is found to be 70% responsible, leaving 30% for the other party.


Joint
Several
Joint and Several
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_and_several_liability
 
2013-11-12 10:56:52 AM  

Jackson Herring: quatchi: Look, cancer sucks and all but smokers with lung cancer who go all sue happy also suck.


While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer, he said studies show smokers are 4,000 more likely to get lung cancer after exposure to asbestos.


They presumably mean inhaling asbestos rather than looking in its general direction.
 
2013-11-12 11:01:46 AM  
I'm not sure about NY law, but most states require that you positively identify the products to which you were exposed.  If her father has passed, it's unlikely she will be able to find anyone to ID products.  Since she is claiming second hand exposure, she is unlikely to be able to ID the products herself.  She faces a real uphill battle.
 
2013-11-12 11:03:04 AM  

Debeo Summa Credo: Jackson Herring: quatchi: Look, cancer sucks and all but smokers with lung cancer who go all sue happy also suck.


While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer, he said studies show smokers are 4,000 more likely to get lung cancer after exposure to asbestos.

4,000 what? 4,000 times? 4,000%? What the hell does that mean?


Like all poorly worded statisticals, I'm going to assume that it's the least helpful argument to the cause of the person who worded it.

So someone who smokes while snorting asbestos is 40 times more likely than someone who doesn't smoke and isn't has never been exposed to asbestos to get lung cancer.
 
2013-11-12 11:08:00 AM  

Zeb Hesselgresser: nocturnal001: Suing 70 companies seems excessive, but how else to seek damages against a vague number of potentially liable groups?

I'd suggest that she knows her suits won't get anywhere. The mere fact of bringing so many will probably trigger them to be thrown out.  Perhaps she knows this and is just trying to draw attention to the issue/her political career?

I'm no lawyer, but I would think pinning down the cause of her cancer would be difficult despite the research. Was it really the asbestos or was it general air pollution?

monoski: Zeb Hesselgresser: While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer

Oh.

In liability law it does not matter if she played a role, if the other party can be shown to be liable they can be subject to a judgement.

I'm blanking on the term, but often the claimant can be found to be partially responsible, decreasing the judgment by that amount. i.e. Maybe she is found to be 70% responsible, leaving 30% for the other party.

Joint
Several
Joint and Several
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_and_several_liability


Double checked. The term I was looking for was comparative negligence.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_negligence
 
2013-11-12 11:11:41 AM  
when my wife bites the dust from smoking, I'm finding a Lawyer to sue the tobacco Co.
 
2013-11-12 11:16:29 AM  
i1.ytimg.com

Hi, I'm Doug and I have Mesothelioma.....

In all seriousness, I had an uncle who died of asbestos caused cancer in the early '80's.
It seems that what this woman is doing is launching yet another class action suit against companies that may or may not have been targeted in previous class action lawsuits.
 
2013-11-12 11:18:10 AM  

fawlty: She faces a real uphill battle.


Not for free publicity she doesn't.
 
2013-11-12 11:19:20 AM  
What a douche bag, these are things you encounter in the thing called life. Hope she didn't miss the paint companies that produced paint with lead.
 
2013-11-12 11:25:48 AM  
This particular article is somewhat misleading in that it paints the picture of her alone suing these companies when in it actually a class action lawsuit for multiple plaintiffs.
 
2013-11-12 11:40:50 AM  

Debeo Summa Credo: Jackson Herring: quatchi: Look, cancer sucks and all but smokers with lung cancer who go all sue happy also suck.


While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer, he said studies show smokers are 4,000 more likely to get lung cancer after exposure to asbestos.

4,000 what? 4,000 times? 4,000%? What the hell does that mean?



I think he got confused. In the pamphlet "Cigarette smoking, asbestos exposure, and your health", it says "More than 4,000 toxic chemicals are found in cigarette smoke."

Later in the same pamphlet: "When a cigarette smoker is exposed to asbestos, his/her risk of lung cancer increases by 50 to 84 times. The longer you are exposed to asbestos, and the higher the amount of the exposure, the greater your chances for getting lung cancer. Compared to nonsmokers, men who smoke are about 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer and women who smoke are about 13 times more likely to develop lung cancer. "

A problem with statistics like these is that people who smoke and/or were exposed to asbestos tend to be checked more often for lung cancer (lots of people die with undiagnosed cancers). IIRC, an autopsy-based study looking at everyone who died during a period of time concluded that the risk of lung cancer among smokers was closer to 7 times the risk of non-smokers than the 13-23 times quoted in the pamphlet.

These are still huge increases in risk, though.
 
2013-11-12 11:48:48 AM  

nocturnal001: monoski: Zeb Hesselgresser: While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer

Oh.

In liability law it does not matter if she played a role, if the other party can be shown to be liable they can be subject to a judgement.

I'm blanking on the term, but often the claimant can be found to be partially responsible, decreasing the judgment by that amount. i.e. Maybe she is found to be 70% responsible, leaving 30% for the other party.


Then add in she is suing 70 companies so after they adjust for her role maybe they each owe her a couple hundred.
 
2013-11-12 11:55:47 AM  

SilentStrider: Tort reform should surrender. It's yet another asinine way to make sure normal people get screwed while saving those at fault lots of money.


Came here to make this point. Texas tort reform actually resulted in people getting even more unnecessary procedures. This is not terribly shocking when you think about it. If it's harder to sue doctors, and doctors own testing facilities and equipment for procedures, doctors have an incentive to find these things necessary and nothing to check their inclination to make more money.
 
2013-11-12 12:13:21 PM  

SilentStrider: Tort reform should surrender. It's yet another asinine way to make sure normal people get screwed while saving those at fault lots of money.


Yup. Also this sort of case is why those laws were created in the first place.

Funny how "bootstrappy" people always hate it when people who aren't millionaires try to stick up for themselves. I guess being bootstrappy is mostly about being a willing biatch for the wealthy more than anything else.
 
2013-11-12 12:16:37 PM  
Stupidity has only one solution.
She deserves a painful death.
Much like morbidly obese people who cause themselves to get adult diabetes.
 
2013-11-12 01:03:22 PM  

draypresct: Debeo Summa Credo: Jackson Herring: quatchi: Look, cancer sucks and all but smokers with lung cancer who go all sue happy also suck.


While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer, he said studies show smokers are 4,000 more likely to get lung cancer after exposure to asbestos.

4,000 what? 4,000 times? 4,000%? What the hell does that mean?


I think he got confused. In the pamphlet "Cigarette smoking, asbestos exposure, and your health", it says "More than 4,000 toxic chemicals are found in cigarette smoke."

Later in the same pamphlet: "When a cigarette smoker is exposed to asbestos, his/her risk of lung cancer increases by 50 to 84 times. The longer you are exposed to asbestos, and the higher the amount of the exposure, the greater your chances for getting lung cancer. Compared to nonsmokers, men who smoke are about 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer and women who smoke are about 13 times more likely to develop lung cancer. "

A problem with statistics like these is that people who smoke and/or were exposed to asbestos tend to be checked more often for lung cancer (lots of people die with undiagnosed cancers). IIRC, an autopsy-based study looking at everyone who died during a period of time concluded that the risk of lung cancer among smokers was closer to 7 times the risk of non-smokers than the 13-23 times quoted in the pamphlet.

These are still huge increases in risk, though.


Huge increases that I don't buy.
Lets say a person is a regular smoker - they have an x% chance of getting lung cancer. Does the 50-84x more number you mentioned mean that a person who smokes just as much but has been exposed to asbestos has at least 50x% chance of getting lung cancer? No way, because the original x is too high.
 
2013-11-12 01:31:25 PM  
oh she smoked?

then she chose to die.
 
2013-11-12 01:45:30 PM  
Look, everyone biatching about tort reform should realize that direct government regulation is far more effective than our "win the lawsuit lottery" system.  In the tobacco example, it would be way more efficient if we just had a single, federal agency that regulated tobacco companies and taxed both the companies (through various means) and smokers (through cigarette taxes), to set up a fund to defray the social costs resulting from tobacco use.  Therefore, when a smoker gets lung cancer, their medical treatment, etc. can be paid from the fund.  This is much more fair and efficient than making non-smokers pay for the costs imposed on society by tobacco use.  (Along the same lines, we could vastly improve that law by enacting a single payer healthcare system, and have the tobacco funds go towards funding that system (which will be incurring additional costs due to tobacco use)).

I guess  I'm just tired of folks on the right being so quick to invoke "free enterprise" and "personal responsibility" as an excuse for letting people or companies socialize the cost of doing business.  The court system is a piss-poor and extremely inefficient way to try and make people and companies pay for these social costs.

A good example of this is everyone's favorite villains, the Koch brothers.  They hate regulation, and would love to get "tort reform."  Why?  Because they know that their business projects its costs on society as a whole by dumping pollution into the ground.  If they are free to pollute our natural resources, they're imposing the costs of that pollution on society - and future generations - all in the name of improving their profits.

And generally, the tort law system is a terrible way to make companies pay for injuries caused by their business.  For example, say a Koch factory contaminates ground water with a carcinogenic substance.  Down the line, kids start developing leukemia at higher rates than normal in nearby towns.  Well, their parents are going to have to try and sue the Kochs, who will have their army of lawyers and expert witnesses at the ready to defend against the claims. The Koch company will defend by saying that the leukemia was a statistical anomaly, or was caused by the other factory in town, or anything (except, of course, for the Koch factory itself).  It can be very difficult to make liability stick, and the parents of those children will be lucky to get anything out of it.   The only winners will be the Koch brothers (who avoided having to pay for causing kids to get cancer) and the lawyers and experts defending them.  And the thing that probably bothers me the most is that a lot of Americans are of the attitude that people who sue for compensation in our broken system are the actual bad guys, because they're just trying to abuse the system to "win the lottery."  that's exactly what is happening in this thread - "oh, this lady smoked - she's such an asshole for suing the asbestos company!"

My bigger point is that the current system is broken.  In the name of "free enterprise," we allow companies to externalize the cost that their business exacts on society - by polluting the ground, selling dangerous products, etc.  But that isn't "free market capitalism."  It's simply allowing the big and powerful to get rich to the detriment of the rest of society.  And our half-hearted attempt to prevent companies from socializing those costs - the court system - is an extremely inefficient and ineffective way of doing so.
 
2013-11-12 01:49:59 PM  

Crotchrocket Slim: SilentStrider: Tort reform should surrender. It's yet another asinine way to make sure normal people get screwed while saving those at fault lots of money.

Yup. Also this sort of case is why those laws were created in the first place.

Funny how "bootstrappy" people always hate it when people who aren't millionaires try to stick up for themselves. I guess being bootstrappy is mostly about being a willing biatch for the wealthy more than anything else.



This.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people buy into the "free market, bootstraps, success is always earned, taxes are bad, small government is best" mindset, not realizing that the entire philosophy is just a compilation of abstract, philosophical excuses to support public policy that favors the rich at the expense of everyone else.
 
2013-11-12 01:50:30 PM  
I wonder if she is suing the manufacture of the 'shoulder thing that goes up'.  Those cause lead exposure and increase the probability of cancer - at least in California.
 
2013-11-12 02:13:04 PM  

nocturnal001: Suing 70 companies seems excessive, but how else to seek damages against a vague number of potentially liable groups?

I'd suggest that she knows her suits won't get anywhere. The mere fact of bringing so many will probably trigger them to be thrown out.  Perhaps she knows this and is just trying to draw attention to the issue/her political career?

I'm no lawyer, but I would think pinning down the cause of her cancer would be difficult despite the research. Was it really the asbestos or was it general air pollution?

monoski: Zeb Hesselgresser: While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer

Oh.

In liability law it does not matter if she played a role, if the other party can be shown to be liable they can be subject to a judgement.

I'm blanking on the term, but often the claimant can be found to be partially responsible, decreasing the judgment by that amount. i.e. Maybe she is found to be 70% responsible, leaving 30% for the other party.


With respect to asbestos, chronic exposure of the type she describes very commonly will result in lung cancer or mesothelioma. It would be difficult to say which is more hazardous, smoking, or asbestos exposure, but consider this. If you quit smoking, your risk of cancer begins to decline. This is not true of asbestos exposure. Once those fibres lodge in the lungs and pleura, they are there for good. Risk is cumulative. Read a little bit about the history of the town of Asbestos in Quebec. Black lung's got nothin' on that stuff.
 
2013-11-12 02:19:03 PM  

Snarfangel: Jackson Herring: quatchi: Look, cancer sucks and all but smokers with lung cancer who go all sue happy also suck.


While Blouin admits that McCarthy's smoking contributed to her cancer, he said studies show smokers are 4,000 more likely to get lung cancer after exposure to asbestos.

They presumably mean inhaling asbestos rather than looking in its general direction.


Yes, but if asbestos dust is present in the workplace then it has been well established that the home will also be contaminated. It is very fine, remains airborne for extended periods and is extremely difficult to remediate against. Read up on it. Asbestos tort law is the largest tort class in the US, and for good reason.
 
2013-11-12 03:50:56 PM  
Long thread, is she dead yet?
 
2013-11-12 04:16:22 PM  
I still don't see how she is going to prove that it was Asbestos Company A's fault or Asbestos Company C's fault or Phillip Morris's fault or her own damn fault for smoking. I also wonder if she will name the estate of her father in the suit since he made her do laundry.
 
2013-11-12 05:00:11 PM  

TheNewJesus: oh she smoked?

then she chose to die.


Typical Democrat, refusing to accept responsibilities for their own failures. It is always someone else's fault.
 
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