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Asbestos Litigation: Procedural Innovations and Forum Shopping

Wednesday September 2005


Michelle J. White Professor, University of California, San Diego

The nation’s longest-running mass tort litigation over asbestos exposure has involved millions of claims filed by over 700,000 individuals against more than 8,400 different defendants. At least 85 firms have filed for bankruptcy due to asbestos litigation. Despite repeated calls from the Supreme Court for legislative action to deal with the asbestos problem, Congress has to date been unable to pass meaningful reform.

Michelle White, a professor of economics at the University of California at San Diego and a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research, has published leading research in the field that extensively studies asbestos litigation and assesses possible solutions to the “elephantine mess” that the litigation has become.

At our luncheon forum, Professor White will discuss her research, with a focus on her recent empirical work that examines how venue shopping and procedural “innovations” designed to handle asbestos litigation have affected trial outcomes and exacerbated the crisis.