On the hot seat

Some people never learn. They pull a fast one and get away with it. Then they do it again and get away with it. In no time at all, they began to think they're above the law.

Or maybe the problem is they learned a terribly wrong lesson. They learned, or thought they learned, that fraud pays for those who think they are "smart" enough to get away with it. But eventually egotism and hubris brings about their downfall.

This could be a cautionary tale for a trial beginning Aug. 11 in U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp's courtroom. As we've oft-chronicled in these pages, CSX Transportation claims Robert Peirce's Pittsburgh law firm conspired with Bridgeport radiologist Ray Harron to fabricate asbestos suits against them. Like many other targets of dubious suits who decided it was cheaper to pay off questionable accusers than to go to court, CSX had settled in the past. But, this time, it is fighting back.

The plaintiff is now the defendant with a lot of explaining to do in court.

As reported by The Record this past week, CSX Transportation worker Ricky May, a client of the Peirce law firm, bilked CSX out of several thousand dollars in an asbestos suit that featured an X-ray of another man's chest. How do we know this? May has admitted it, and he's agreed to testify against his former lawyers. Co-worker Daniel Jayne, whose chest X-ray was substituted for May's, also has agreed to testify.

In fighting back, CSX has done us all a favor. And so have Ricky May and Daniel Jayne in confessing their deceit. Together they may put an end to some litigious terrorism.

This could be the first of many cases challenging the tactics of individuals too "smart" for their own good.

Things are heating up for Mr. Peirce, a man who might have a different view of asbestos by the time the trial is ends. He may wish he were wearing some.

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