“What we try to do with our clients is get them what we can, where we can.”
That's what Texas attorney Brent Coon was quoted as saying three years ago in a Wall Street Journal article about the rise in claims against asbestos trust funds.
“With dozens of asbestos-related manufacturers forced into bankruptcy, a burgeoning swath of the legal action has shifted out of the courtroom and into a nebulous world of trusts that evaluate claims and authorize payouts with little outside scrutiny,” the Journal reported.
“By design, many are guided by teams of plaintiffs’ lawyers – the very group that seeks money for clients and has earned billions of dollars in fees on payouts through the years,” the article emphasized, noting that “judges across the country who handle asbestos cases involving still-viable companies have granted defense requests to subpoena bankruptcy trusts to sniff out potentially false and conflicting evidence.”
Some insurance companies did some sniffing and got a whiff of Coon.
Coon and peers may have been a little remiss in getting their asbestos-victim clients “what we can, where we can,” neglecting to reimburse insurance companies for settlements when asbestos trusts subsequently paid out to the same clients, according to a law suit.
Humana, United Healthcare, and Aetna have had enough and are trying to get back what they can, where they can, by filing a $19.5 million suit in the U.S. District Court for Southern Texas, Galveston Division against Reaud Morgan & Quinn, the Bogdan Law Firm, Foster & Sear, Hissey Kientz and Shrader & Associates, and Brent Coon & Associates.
“There is very little information publicly available concerning the identities of asbestos claimants who submit and/or resolve their asbestos-related claims through asbestos trusts,” the suit states, emphasizing that the insurers were able to identify only “a fraction of the claimants who received payments from the asbestos trusts.”
If and when transparency comes to asbestos trusts, the suits against Coon, et al. could pile up high.