Suppose a teenager asks his dad for $10 to see a movie. The dad gives him the money and off he goes. All well and good, right? A nice family vignette.
Or maybe he asks his mother, instead, and she obliges. Everything's hunky-dory. Another pleasant domestic scene.
But what if the same teen asks both parents individually for $10 to see a movie and both say yes? The smooth operator gets to see a movie and pockets the extra ten.
Unless Mom and Dad happen to talk -– and then Junior's in for it. Parents who talk more prevent Junior from trying such a scam and the world is a better place for it.
Otherwise, a double-dipping teen might grow into a double-dipping plaintiff's attorney who seizes the opportunity to make multiple claims against various asbestos trust funds on behalf of a single client.
Asbestos trust funds were set up years ago so that people coming forward with legitimate claims for asbestos-induced illnesses could receive benefits from asbestos manufacturers facing insolvency. The concern is that lawyers and plaintiffs who seek to double-dip from more than one trust would then be overcompensated for alleged injuries, thereby depriving the trust funds of assets that should go to legitimate claimants.
Lack of transparency made double-dipping possible. Judges and fund managers had almost no way of knowing if a plaintiff had made claims against other funds. Thanks to State Sen. Jeff Kessler and Circuit Judge Ronald Wilson, the days of double-dipping in West Virginia may be over.
Kessler has long pushed for a solution to this abuse, and this week Judge Wilson issued an order requiring plaintiffs in asbestos cases to provide details of what claims they've made against which trusts.
Kessler and Wilson deserve praise for addressing the ugly practice of double-dipping and trying to ensure that the assets of asbestos funds are dispersed only to genuine victims.