Response to the verdict in the Jowers case
Posted March 6, 2008
The defendants disagree with the jury's findings and believe that the verdict is not supported by the science or the evidence in this case. The defendants believe that they have strong arguments for appeal and will be seeking prompt appellate review.
Importantly, this verdict does not change the defendants’ view of these claims.
This litigation was created by lawyers who funded five-minute neurological screenings and filed thousands of cases on behalf of welders who had nothing wrong with them.
Over the last few years, plaintiffs have dismissed the majority of welding fume cases rather than provide basic information supporting their claims and prepare them for trial. In addition, plaintiffs were forced to dismiss four cases for fraud. Defendants believe that the thousands of cases that have been dismissed, and the rapidly shrinking number of outstanding claims, are a better indicator of the merits of this litigation than a few isolated plaintiffs’ verdicts.
Since January 2006, plaintiffs’ counsel have moved to dismiss more than 3,500 claims in the federal multidistrict proceeding (MDL) alone; there are now less than 3,500 welding fume claims pending in state and federal courts combined. These MDL dismissals follow plaintiffs’ acknowledgment that 40 percent of their federal court clients were never diagnosed with any neurological condition and 70 percent of these allegedly sick claimants never sought medical treatment. Just this week, plaintiffs dismissed more than 200 cases in the MDL proceeding. This is not the trajectory of a successful mass tort.
In addition, over the past few years, four plaintiffs have been forced to dismiss their cases after trial dates were set because of fraud. Two of the plaintiffs were videotaped engaging in daily activities with no apparent disabilities after attesting to severe disabilities in their discovery responses. The other two also provided fraudulent discovery responses.
While the defendants would like to win every case and believe that their overall success in this litigation will continue, it is unrealistic to believe that they will never lose a case. There are other factors, unrelated to merit, that can affect the outcome of these cases. Importantly, there is no new, negative scientific evidence against the defendants – objective, peer-reviewed science continues to be on our side and supports defendants’ position that welding is safe with proper ventilation.
The most reliable and comprehensive epidemiological studies to be done on this issue continue 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.
The defendants are confident they will ultimately prevail in these cases, and will continue to try those cases not dismissed on other grounds.