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On the Theory Class’s Theories of Asbestos Litigation: The Disconnect Between Scholarship and Reality?

Wednesday March 2004


Professor Lester Brickman Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University

Approximately 110,000 new asbestos claims were filed in 2003, the most ever in one year. Even though 80-90% of asbestos claimants have no illness recognized by medical science, let alone suffer any lung impairment, asbestos litigation continues to expand. The litigation has so far cost $70 billion and some predict a total cost of $250 billion before it fully winds down.

Lester Brickman, a professor of law at the Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University, the leading scholarly critic of the litigation, has just completed an empirical study and concluded that, for the most part, the litigation has become a “malignant enterprise.” A leading journalist has called his empirical research “massive . . . . his scholarship meticulous . . . crammed with compelling evidence.”

In our luncheon forum, Professor Brickman summarizes the results of his study and explains how the massive disconnect between medical science and tort litigation has come about. His study can be accessed at