Sued asbestos firm says former clients are off limits

By John O'Brien | May 25, 2011


WHEELING (Legal Newsline) - A Pittsburgh asbestos law firm says its relationship with former clients is ongoing and the company suing it for fraud should not be allowed to contact them.

On Monday, the firm Peirce, Raimond and Coulter replied to CSX Transportation's argument that it should be allowed to speak to former clients because they are no longer represented by the firm. CSX claims the firm conspired with radiologist Ray Harron to fabricate asbestos claims.

In April, the Peirce firm asked U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp to prohibit contact between CSX and its former clients, as well as obtain a list of those already contacted. CSX filed its response brief earlier this month.

"CSX fails to recognize, address, or even acknowledge the crucial and uncontradicted record fact that is most relevant to the instant issue: representation of clients with regard to 'third-party' asbestos-related claims is, by its very nature, an on-going relationship because a 'client may have potential claims become available due to the creation of new third-party asbestos manufacturer bankruptcy trusts or because of the expansion of the type of or requirements for claims allowed by current trusts,'" the firm's reply brief says.

"Thus, even if a client does not have a presently pending third-party claim, the Peirce firm continues to have an attorney-client relationship with the client as to asbestos-related claims because 'additional claims may be brought in the future if (a client) become(s) eligible to assert additional claims against, for example, new or existing third-party asbestos manufacturer bankruptcy trusts.'"

CSX wrote in its May 6 response that Peirce's stance is "vigorously argued" but incorrect.

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