Saturday, February 05, 2005

Protecting Halliburton

In his State of the Union address, President Bush said the U.S. economy has been held back by "irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims," and urged Congress to pass reforms to limit such lawsuits. It is strange that the President would come to the defense of those who spread a major cause of cancer in this country, in the State of the Union address, no less.

But perhaps it is not so strange when we learn that his vice-president's company Halliburton has just lost a $30 million lawsuit on this very issue. As reported by the Seattle Times:

The Halliburton Co. settled legal claims with about 120 families of asbestos victims in the Pacific Northwest this week, agreeing to pay out $30 million and to create a fund for future victims of the deadly fiber.

The local settlement was part of a $4.3 billion national settlement involving about 250,000 plaintiffs who had sued the company in connection with exposure to asbestos products distributed by Halliburton subsidiaries.

Matthew Bergman, attorney for the local families and one of seven lawyers involved in negotiating the settlement, said Dresser Industries, a Halliburton subsidiary, knew since the 1930s that asbestos was harmful, yet issued no warnings. Locally, asbestos products were widely used in shipyards, pulp mills and power plants.

Many of Bergman's clients worked at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, he said. Some were civilian workers and others were sailors, some of whom remember sleeping in bunks beneath pipes insulated with asbestos, he said.

Our moral values president in action, working to protect companies that destroy the health of the American people.


Blogger Robert said...

Oh yeah, and that is the whole reason that the economy hasn't taken off. Damn people expecting to be compensated for being given cancer. GREED!

3:32 PM  

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