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Friday, November 15, 2013

Mississippi courts still sympathetic to lung litigation in wake of scandal

Today's post was shared by Legal Newsline and comes from




PORT GIBSON and LAUREL, Miss. (Legal Newsline) – Last decade’s flood of mass silicosis suits into Mississippi courts dried up in the heat of scandal, but new silicosis suits are steadily streaming into the same sympathetic courts.

The new suits, like thousands that federal judge Janis Jack reviewed in 2005, depend on little evidence beyond X-ray reports of a well paid expert.

In a dramatic turn of events, the expert behind the new suits once joined Jack in ripping the experts behind the old suits.

Pulmonologist Steven Haber of Houston, who now testifies at $450 an hour for depositions and $5,000 a day for trials, once echoed Jack’s opinion that doctors manufactured reports for the lawyers who paid them.

Those doctors lost reputations and licenses, and avoided prosecution by invoking Fifth Amendment privilege against self incrimination.

Haber has found success employed as an expert for attorneys Allen Smith of Ridgeland, and Timothy Porter, Patrick Malouf and John Givens of Jackson, who run a constant cycle of trials around the state.

At a wrongful death trial in September in Port Gibson (Claiborne County), defense attorney Walter Johnson of Watkins & Eager in Jackson confronted Haber with an affidavit he had produced for purposes of the WR Grace bankruptcy. In it, Haber was critical of B-readers, or readers of X-rays.

Haber testified that he never met the deceased claimant Lawrence Armstrong and that the only information he had reviewed...

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