Response to the verdict in the McLemore case
Posted November 20, 2008
The defendants strongly disagree with this verdict, which is contrary to sound science and the facts of the case, and believe that welding had nothing to do with the plaintiff’s alleged ailments.
The defendants’ position regarding this litigation remains unchanged -- welding consumable manufacturers have always acted responsibly on behalf of welders and are being unfairly targeted in these suits.
While the defendants believe, on the merits, that they should win every case, there are other factors that can affect a verdict, including the jury pool, sympathy for a particular plaintiff, pretrial court rulings, and the jurisdiction, such as this notoriously pro-plaintiff jurisdiction.
More important than an individual verdict is the overall trajectory this litigation has taken over the past several years. This litigation has been marked by numerous dismissals, and there is an ongoing and sharp decline in the number of pending lawsuits. In the past few years, plaintiffs have moved to dismiss more than 4,000 cases in the MDL, upwards of 80% of their claims, and the total number of pending welding fume cases has dropped by over two‐thirds. Plaintiffs have also been forced to dismiss five trial-ready cases due to fraud, including three slated for early trials in the MDL.
Importantly, there is no new, negative evidence against the defendants, and objective, peer-reviewed science continues to show no association between welding and neurological disorders. For a synopsis of the existing body of science and theories, please see the Studies section of this website, which contains some of the most important studies related to this issue.
Despite a handful of isolated plaintiffs’ verdicts, we believe the defendants are winning this litigation overall. Even with the disadvantage of defending a case in a pro-plaintiff jurisdiction, numerous other defense verdicts have been returned in places like Madison County, Illinois, Galveston County, Texas and Brazoria County, Texas, among others. Also, jurors have found for defendants in two consolidated cases (which included four plaintiffs in the Andre/Barras cases and two in the Goforth and Quinn cases). Multi-plaintiff trials are typically very prejudicial for defendants, and yet plaintiffs were unable to convince those juries of their claims.
The defendants are confident they will ultimately prevail in these cases, and will continue to try those cases not dismissed on other grounds.