Our View: Garlock turns the tables on predatory asbestos firms

The SE Texas Record Jan. 21, 2014, 6:55am

Search Youtube or Google Images for “predator becomes prey” and you’ll find incredible but real examples of the tables being turned by intended victims: bunnies getting the best of snakes, house cats intimidating alligators, octopi engulfing sharks, wild boar goring leopards, etc. 

There are plenty of staged images and videos, too, such as the ones featuring deer behind the steering wheels of trucks or cars, with “slain” hunters strapped to the tops. (The kangaroo hunters in Crocodile Dundee are surprised to encounter return fire.)

Eying these images, you may be astounded or amused, but you’re not likely to sympathize with the hapless predators.

Nor will anyone shed a tear for the asbestos law firms that suddenly found themselves in the position of defendants when Garlock Sealing Technologies got tired of being victimized and turned the tables on them.

Federal bankruptcy Judge George Hodges recently ruled that plaintiffs attorneys from the Houston law firm of Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas had engaged in unethical practices to maximize recovery against Garlock.

Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas had moved for summary judgment just over a year ago, alleging “no genuine dispute as to any fact.” Garlock, having accused the firm of making fraudulently inconsistent claims about the origin of a client’s mesothelioma, responded at length to the summary judgment motion, which was denied.

On Friday, January 10th, Judge Hodges ordered the establishment of a $125 million bankruptcy trust to satisfy Garlock’s asbestos liability, rejecting the asbestos law firm’s suggestion of a billion-dollar-plus trust. He denounced “the effort by some plaintiffs and their lawyers to withhold evidence of exposure to other asbestos products and to delay filing claims against bankrupt defendants’ asbestos trusts until after obtaining recoveries from Garlock.”

The day before that verdict was delivered, Garlock filed suits against five other asbestos law firms, three of which have offices in Dallas: Waters & Kraus, Stanley-Iola, and Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett.

Predators may be predators, but that doesn’t mean the prey can’t fight back.

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Williams Kherkher
8441 Gulf Freeway
Houston, TX 77017

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