One of the funniest scenes from the "Seinfeld" show features George Costanza (Jason Alexander) dipping a tortilla chip in a sour-cream mix at a cocktail party. He takes a bite and then dips the same chip again, whereupon another guest accosts him and chastises him for “double-dipping.”
Unfamiliar with the expression, George requires elucidation.
“You dipped the chip, you took a bite, and you dipped again.”
“So?” George responds.
“That's like putting your whole mouth right in the dip,” the guest explains. “From now on, when you take a chip, just take one dip and end it.”
George Costanza, for those who've never seen "Seinfeld", is the Brent Coon of the show – the guy who thinks that the rules of proper behavior do not apply to him. What no one else needs telling, George must be told.
We've never shared cocktails with Brent Coon and can neither vouch for nor criticize his party etiquette, but he is notorious for double-dipping in another context and needs to be encouraged to mind his manners.
Last year, in an issue of the American Journal of Trial Advocacy, retired Delaware Judge Peggy Ableman recalled a case in which a Florida firm recommended by Brent “Double Dip” Coon represented clients seeking damages from an asbestos company, even though Coon had already made claims for them against several bankruptcy trusts. She called the case “a quintessential example of the abusive practices” common in asbestos litigation.
Now Gov. Greg Abbott and our state legislature have spelled things out for Coon with House Bill 1492, which requires asbestos claimants to serve notices of their trust claims.
Henceforth, a trial court can impose sanctions and vacate a judgment if a claimant fails to provide notice of compensation received from a trust for the same asbestos-related injury.
In case you don't get the message, Brent, we'll put it in plain English: From now on, just take one dip and end it.