The law firm of Peter G. Angelos has scaled back its request for a Baltimore judge to group together almost 13,000 asbestos cases, asking the court to look only at cases where the plaintiffs alleged they contracted cancer as a result of their exposure to the poisonous material.
The modified plan would still involve lumping together 4,600 cases, according to recent filings in the case. The remaining cases, which involve plaintiffs that have lung diseases other than cancer, could be handled in a similar way later on, Angelos lawyer Theodore M. Flerlage, Jr. wrote in court documents.
But attorneys for Union Carbide, a defendant in the case, said even the smaller plan remains unfair.
"Angelos' reformulation of its original Proposal does nothing to address the constitutional impediments Union Carbide has raised from day one," attorney Thurman W. Zollicoffer, Jr. wrote, adding that the each plaintiff is too different from the others to be fairly compared.
The proposal to speed the cases along by using a small number of plaintiffs to establish common facts has met with strong objections. This spring, Zollicoffer accused the Angelos firm of relying on questionable medical diagnoses made by the Orioles' team doctor, a claim Flerlage rejected.
"Contrary to Union Carbide's insinuations, the evidence demonstrates that the medical evaluations of the Plaintiffs in the cases to be consolidated were performed in strict adherence to professional guidelines," Flerlage wrote in May.
"Union Carbide's attempt to scandalize the physicians who performed the evaluations is devoid of any support."
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