Gotham Gazette

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Anti-Worker Arguments Need Transparency

asbestos 2

(photo: secondskinuk)

We write in response to the pro-big business, anti-worker, politically-motivated opinion piece written by Peggy Ableman entitled, “New York’s Asbestos Courts Need Transparency.”

We have been representing the working men and women of New York for over 30 years in the “New York asbestos courts” which are the subject of Ms. Ableman’s piece. The lives of these men and women, people responsible for building this great city, have been devastated by asbestos diseases caused by corporate recklessness and greed. Ms. Ableman attacks the honesty and integrity of these true heroes, as well as the honesty and integrity of their lawyers.

Her attack is nothing more than a politically-motivated, scurrilous work of fiction, promoting the agenda of such groups as the American Tort Reform Association. This group’s main goal, supported by Ms. Ableman, is to deny and/or significantly limit access to the courts by those whose lives have been destroyed by an industrial poison. Interestingly and tellingly, Ms. Ableman’s piece is completely devoid of any facts in support of her made-up claims of fraud. This is not surprising given the fact that Ms. Ableman is not a member of the New York bar and, to the best of our knowledge, has never set foot in a New York courtroom.

Perhaps most importantly, in a piece calling for “truth” and “transparency,” Ms. Ableman failed to disclose her current employer. After leaving the bench to seek more lucrative work, Ms. Ableman was hired by the powerhouse asbestos defense law firm, McCarter & English. She is currently “special counsel” to this law firm which has been representing defendants in asbestos litigation for decades.

The firm’s website touts as one of Ms. Ableman’s “accomplishments” the fact that she was quoted in the American Tort Reform Association’s rag, “Judicial Hellholes.” This “publication” denigrates and belittles the incredible work of New York judges who labor every day, all day, seeking to provide justice to all litigants that appear before them. To call the New York State’s judicial system administered by these conscientious jurists a “judicial hellhole” is an outrage and a direct affront to the integrity of these judges.

If Ms. Ableman is interested in ferreting out fraud, she should start with a good long look in the mirror. Her failure to disclose the fact that she works for a firm that represents big corporations that are sued in asbestos cases in a column about “truth” and “transparency” says all you need to know about her credibility.

Perry Weitz, Arthur Luxenberg, Robert Gordon, Charles Ferguson, Alani Golanski and Jerry Kristal, Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C.

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