Surgeon Cheers The Baron/Edwards Debacle

Chowing down at a jampacked Rise No. 1 Saturday night, Dallas pediatric surgeon Dr. Carlos Laos could barely contain his glee over the role Fred Baron has been shown to have played in the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter scandal. Dallas plaintiff’s attorney Baron–who made his fortune suing everybody and his dog over dubious asbestos claims–has cost the medical profession untold millions of dollars, Laos said, so exposure of his role as a payoff man in the Edwards fiasco seems fitting. Then Laos paraphrased Robin Williams from the flick Peter Pan: Hook: “Someday, if we’re lucky, science researchers will be able to substitute plaintiff’s lawyers for laboratory rats. That way, the researchers will no longer be at risk of becoming emotionally attached to the subjects, as they sometimes do now with rats. And the lawyers will be perfect for research, because they’ll do things the rats never would.” Don’t hold back, Carlos; tell us how you really feel!

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Comments

42 responses to “Surgeon Cheers The Baron/Edwards Debacle”

  1. Bob says:

    So, Glenn, when your doctor screws up your surgery, or when your contractor screws up your house, or when you get t-boned by a red-light runner, or when the hmo denies you a life-saving treatment, or when you can’t work but are denied long-term disability, who are you gonna call to help you? Yeah, call Carlos–I’m sure he will be of great assistance to you. Have a nice life.

  2. DGirl says:

    Ara ya bitter, Bob or just a personal injury attorney with a chip on your shoulder?

  3. Jack E. Jett says:

    I am sure I will be getting 40 verbal slaps over this but…my sister in law worked for years for Baron and Budd. She interviewed the poor that suffered from the results of
    exposure to asbestos. It is real. To call it “dubious” some might consider to be disrespectful to all those who have died from it. Is there abuse with personal injury lawsuits? Yes. Do Doctors sometimes make mistakes? I can say without a doubt they do.
    I feel John Edwards was very hypocritical to get involved with adultry but probably for a different reason than most. He always said that he could not support gay marriage because it was offensive to the sanctity of marriage and due to his religious beliefs.
    On the other hand, I certainly don’t take any glee from the suffering of Elizabeth Edwards who seems to be the real victim in all this.
    I would be hesitant to send my child to a Doctor who finds glee in the pain of others.
    I am constantly amazed everyday at how divisive this country and this city particularly has become. Everything is seen through a right wing/left wing prism.
    Just the mention, on this blog, of me doing a radio show brought on name calling from hack to pig. The stationed deemed a failure and not worthy before it has a chance to start. No one even knows what sort of show I will have but they are sure it is going to suck. Why? Because my views may be different than others. In order to get past such division in our society, isn’t an open discussion on the issues fair?

  4. Nicole says:

    The movie is “Hook,” not “Peter Pan.” 🙂

  5. AB says:

    Thanks D Magazine for keeping up that rhetoric about trial lawyers. Granted, someone else was doing the talking, you just quoted them, and put it out there in the public forum.

    The Insurance Lobby Salutes you, but they can’t do anything about the rising costs of your organization’s monthly premiums–you know, because of all those pesky trial lawyers still plaguing the system with lawsuits…representing clients, carrying out their client’s wishes…

    Thanks to Mr. Laos, I’ll be sure to shed a tear the next time I’m out to dinner and overhear a doctor bitching about how much money trial lawyers have sucked out of the medical industry… Wake up, you idiots. THE INSURANCE COMPANIES SCREWED YOU AND THEY KEEP DOING IT. So, just bend over a little farther and tell them it feels good, because that’s pretty much all you can do.

  6. AB says:

    the words censored above were “b-i-t-c-h-i-n-g” and “i-d-i-o-t-s.”

  7. bleacherbum says:

    dubious asbestos claims???? You’ve clearly never seen anyone suffer from mesothelioma, a deadly and dreadful form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. God save us from biased blog writers.

  8. Bethany says:

    It’s OK. I think that’s just Alan Peppard, who somehow managed to figure out Glenn’s log in.

  9. Gadfly says:

    Why is “i-d-i-o-t-s” considered a bad or nasty word?

  10. bleacherbum says:

    I am rubber and you are G-L-U-E…whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to Y-O-U.

  11. billh says:

    So, Doctor, now that you and the lobbyists have managed to overhaul our legal system with tort reform, those rates and our medical costs have plummeted right?

    And, would you get the freakin joke right?
    They are using lawyers instead of white mice in medical experiments,
    1. There are more of them
    2. The researchers don’t get attached and
    3. There are some things white mice just won’t do.

    Oh, and well said Jack.

    I’m not a plaintiffs lawyer, so I have no dog in this fight, but this sort of rant is so intellectually lazy.

  12. Bill says:

    For 2008-09, what will D Magazine use as criteria to give Baron & Budd their annual At-a-boy in it’s “Best Lawyers” edition.

    Best Baby Mama Drama?

    The Hand That Rocks The Cradle All The way From The 75205?

  13. BLM says:

    If anyone is interested in how B&B handled their asbestos cases, then read this:

    http://www.dallasobserver.com/1998-08-13/news/toxic-justice/

    To give you an idea, here is an excerpt:

    To build its cases, former Baron & Budd employees and documents suggest, firm members have:

    * Provided workers with sample questions and the “right” answers for their depositions, with little regard for whether the answers were true;

    * Coached workers to say they were exposed to products that the workers can’t identify by themselves and implanted memories in the minds of the firm’s clients;

    * Exaggerated the threat to some workers’ health from asbestos exposure, employing what one former Baron & Budd paralegal described as “whore docs” willing to blame virtually any lung ailment and a whole host of cancers on asbestos exposure.

  14. billh says:

    I shouldn’t have used the pronoun ‘you’, when addressing the doctor in the above comment. I have no idea if he’s ever been involved in tort reform or lobying of any type. I suppose it’s the same sort of rant, I mentioned as intellectually lazy. My apology.

    Still, I think my version of the joke is better.

  15. Glenn Hunter says:

    True victims of course deserve compensation. But the fact is, asbestos has mainly been a money-making scheme for the plaintiff’s bar for many years.

  16. bleacherbum says:

    And of course the asbestos/cigarette/(fill-in-the-blank industry) has never been known to coach witnesses. Nope. Pure as driven snow — those guys, eh?

  17. Jack E. Jett says:

    BLM
    That is offensive as my sister in law was very involved in these cases for 20 years.
    Asbestos does enough damage to the lungs of any person and doesn’t need to be “exaggerated”. Baron and Budd also gave a ton of money every year to the Child Advocacy group, so before you decide all
    lawyers should go to hell, try and look at the entire picture. You can slice and dice it, and name call all you won’t but Fred Baron helping out John Edwards is ultra minor compared to Tom Delay or Harriet Miers taking a massive dump on the Constitution.

  18. amanda says:

    My father worked for Johns-Manville from 1970-1980. Unfortunately, many of the early claims of harm by asbestos (prior to OSHA/ANSI safety guidelines) were legit. It was the ones BLM listed above that left a taint on the process.

    Here’s the catch 22…plantiff’s attorneys filed civil actions in states like MS, AL, AR, NC, SC, and TN to find juries that would rule sympathetically on medical malpractice/product liability/worker’s comp claims for punative damages. This went on for years until the states stepped in to limit geography in filing. John Edwards was notorious for this. As a result, a number of physician’s could no longer obtain malpractice coverage. In some areas ALL of the doctors simply closed their practices. Employers moved their business outside the state (or US), to avoid worker’s comp/products claims. Ironically, these are the states routinely cited in Democratic talking points as the epicenter of a “healthcare crisis,” and having depressed industry.

    In the case of legitimate injury, harm, and liability, of course, attorneys like Edwards provide an invaluable service. It’s the “dubious” ones I took Laos’ comments to mean.

    Oh, and Jack…good post.

  19. AD says:

    I’ve seen people with meso, and it’s horrible. Those people deserve compensation (and not 60% compensation, the other 40% going into someone’s third mansion.) But the profound majority of asbestos plaintiffs have no mesothelioma, and no lung cancer of any kind. After a hearing in Galveston in the mid 1990s (after the judge had left the courtroom), one of the more successful asbestos attorneys in Texas stood up and gleefully, unapologetically, recounted for the 50 or so defense attorneys in the room how he found “injured” plaintiffs. He said he’d find a town, invite all the retired laboreres to a free lunch at a Ramada Inn, project large photos of different pacjkages on teh wall while they were eating, and ask them to raise their hands if they saw a package that looked familiar. If they did, he signed them up as a plaintiff. He was essentially saying, “I’m unstoppable, because I have an endless supply of claims.” Asbestos litigation ended up being a game of numbers–an assembly line run for profit by the plaintiff’s firms–because when you’re facing thousands upon thousands upon thousands of plaintiffs, it costs less to settle the claims, even the majority that aren’t real, than to commit the resources to figuring out once and for all which one out of a hundred might actually deserve settlement.

  20. bleacherbum says:

    In Norfolk, Virginia, where asbestos litigation pretty much started, there was never a shortage of doctors, hospitals and clinics. Of course, the asbestos industry did take a hit and had to outsource production overseas, but that’s another story.

  21. Jack E. Jett says:

    Glen,

    If you watched your Father die a slow a painful death due to asbestos exposure, would you consider it a money making scheme if your family were poor and somehow compensated? A majority of the people exposed to asbestos were poor and hard working. They were limited in their choice of jobs. Do you think they were killing themselves to scheme for money? You are very educated so perhaps you don’t need to be coached when D Magazine gets sued and you have to go to trial. Many of these men/women that suffered from asbestos were among the less educated and needed some sort of coaching just to appear in court and be able to take on the CORPORATE LAWYERS who had something to gain.

    Are corporate lawyers that defend Enron is the same boat as those who defend the poor?

  22. bleacherbum says:

    Jack — Asking a D Magazine writer to have sympathy for the poor and uneducated is like offering them a boilermaker instead of a martini. I doubt any of them could figure out the business end of a shovel.

  23. amanda says:

    Jack, not “siding” with you…BUT from what I understand many of the affected meso patients also had other issues such as lead exposure, etc., and I think those greatly impacted the ability of the plantiffs.

  24. BLM says:

    Jackie Jett,

    Guess you did not read the Observer article.

  25. Daniel says:

    Isn’t that the end with the darling little scooper-thing?

  26. Bob says:

    Hey, DGirl, I am not a personal injury attorney, I am not bitter, and I have no chip on my shoulder. I have, however, seen regular working people get screwed by their employers, health care providers, insurance companies, neighbors, ex-spouses, etc. I would like you to tell me how these folks are supposed to get redress without an attorney to represent them. Then you can tell me how they are supposed to pay whoever it is you think is going to help them. Thanks in advance for your thoughtful answer.

  27. HSH says:

    Glen — to use the Manhattan Institute as a resource is laughable. Try for some party who has no dog in the hunt — maybe Rand Corporation. They’ve done lots of work on the asbestos issue.

    The asbestos cases now are all malignants –mesos — ugliest, most painful way to die other than Abu Graib. And the “non-malignant” cases are gone. Nadda. State legislatures all across the country took care of those. Including Texas two sessions ago.

    As to asbestos litigation in TX, it’s dead. All cases are transferred to the MDL and die a slow, tedious death. The few that make it to trial end up at the Texas Supreme Court, who could care less about victims. Next time do your homework.

    This pediatrican is a joke. He has no clue what he’s talking about. Ditto for you.

  28. Bill Cunningham says:

    This blog must contain the most wealthy readers who have some promise that they will never get ill or loose a job. Maybe that is a luxury of being very wealthy because the heartless comments made by those on this blog are disgusting. My uncle died from working in a factory with asbestos. He never smoked..in fact he hardly did anything but work because they paid so little. He was uneducated but wanted the best for his family. Then I come on this blog of utter arrogance and read how any lawyer that helps the poor and sick is a sleaze bag while those lawyers who protect the wealthy (when they have ripped off the poor) are being praised. Then you have the audacity to suggest that my deceased Uncle was part of a “money making” scheme? How are you so ignorant to make a blanket statement about all this people that suffered. Glen, my friend, I am glad your Doctor finds glee in the pain of others and that you get a giggle out of downplaying the deaths that are a result of asbestos. Glen, I can say without any hesitation, that you are by far the most disgusting person to ever be allowed to spew evil all over the internet. You should ask yourself what happened in your life that you can be evil and in the gutter.
    You make me glad that karma is a bitch.

  29. Jack E. Jett says:

    This is sort of a funny story about Doctor Carlos Laos who finds glee in other people’s pain. While he a Glenn were getting their chuckles on about Elizabeth Edwards/useless asbestos claims, they did this over Salon De Souffle. It would make a great SNL skit if it just weren’t so pathetic.

    Sorry about your Uncle man.

    And of course, head cheerleader Bethany thinks it is just “okay”.

  30. amanda says:

    Okay, I read both D Girl and Bethany as funny pithy remarks, not attacks or dismissive. Everyone on this blog is so darn sensitive these days.

    I think Fred Baron is perhaps sleazy, but not because of asbestos litigation…

    It is undeniable that mesothelioma is one of the worst conditions, a painful long death sentence. I don’t however think that Glenn is the greatest evil ever on the Internet. I think that position is reserved for those trafficking in children and sexual slavery.

    Can’t we all just get along? Can’t people at least try to inject a little irreverent humor?

  31. Bethany says:

    “It’s OK,” in this case, means “It’s gonna be OK, pookiepants, don’t get your diapers in a wad, because it was clearly not meant to be here because Alan Freakin’ Peppard somehow figured out Glenn’s log in, and posted that as a joke.

    In other words, I made a pithy retort, just as Amanda pointed out.

    Next time, I’ll use smaller words.

  32. Dallasite says:

    “My uncle died from working in a factory with asbestos.”

    So a slimeball attorney should get rich because of that? It’s sad that your uncle died, but I’m not really sure why trial lawyers should get a new private jet as a result of it.

  33. Jack E. Jett says:

    Bethany
    Please, don’t refer to me as pookiepants or getting my diapers in wad, and then lecturing me for not having a sense of humor.
    If I remotely said something like that you would be all over my azz in a New York second and you know it. Your “joke” didn’t really address the issue as you so frequently point out to me. Prepard had nothing to do with it. And then your comment about using smaller words.
    OUT and OUT *itchy and you know it. So continue being head cheerleader and you will eventually get the gig, but leave me out of your equation. Have them kick me off the blog if you want, but don’t use me as your whipping boy on a non stop basis cause this dude is sick of your freaking shite.
    I am usually on this blog trying to stick up for those that are a little less lucky than some of us and for some reason, it just bugs the living hell out of you.

  34. julie says:

    “This blog must contain the most wealthy readers who have some promise that they will never get ill or loose a job. Maybe that is a luxury of being very wealthy because the heartless comments made by those on this blog are disgusting.”

    They are either very, very wealthy (doubtful..why would the extremely wealthy waste time here?) or, more likely–have lived very lucky lives and never had anything really, really bad happen to them. Because I can assure, when that really bad thing happens, you will suddenly undergo a personality and thought process change, get down (or fall) off your high horse, and start to have a little compassion for other people. You’ll also start to believe in the old adage “better that 9 underserving people take advantage of [X} rather than 1 truly deserving person go unaided.’ It’s easy to pick out the souls on this thread who have gone through the Bad Thing–Jack & Bob, for starters. Amanda–not yet.

  35. Jack E. Jett says:

    Dallasite

    That is one cold comment, you know it, I know it, yet no one will cop to it.

    Corporate lawyers fly in private jets everyday. This guys uncle had nothing to do with, probably had never be in a private jet.

    You are lucky to be immune from illness and death.

  36. Bill Cunningham says:

    Dallasite

    Look in the mirror when you use the word slimeball.

    You state my uncle died so someone could get a private jet…?
    Are people that cold hearted and ignorant on this blog? My uncle died a slow and painful death due to Mesothelioma that he contracted from asbestos.

    He didn’t get if for money, he didn’t get it for someone to get a jet. Why is that so hard to get through your head. At least the others making crude and idiotic comments have the balls to use a name.

  37. DGirl says:

    Good point, Dallasite. Bob, I’m watching the US women’s beach volleyball team beat Cuba so I’m not going to spend time on a really thoughtful answer to your question. I think we can all agree to some degree that there is a place in the world for attorneys who stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves in a court of law. The original post didn’t refer to those who are genuinely concerned for the well being of true victims of negligence resulting in accident, injury or illness. He referred to one lawyer in particular who has clearly made so much money going after big business that he is able to pay off the mistress of the political candidate (also a personal injury attorney, by the way) he supported. I doubt any of those poor folks suffering from cancer or their survivors are quite in the position to p-i-s-s- money away like that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to beach volleyball.

  38. amanda says:

    This blog now gives powers of omniscience, omnipotence, and a special attachment that sucks out joy, humor, and happiness. Now, if only I can get it to slice onions and do my laundry…

    So Julie maybe I’ve already had the really bad thing, think about that carefully, very carefully. Maybe it started when I was twelve, and maybe I might just trade you for yours. You mentioned something about a high horse earlier?

    Jack, Bethany calls everyone pookiepants. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because she loves us.

  39. amanda says:

    Oh, snap D Girl.

  40. Harvey Lacey says:

    Firt thing, calling all attorneys bad would be like pointing out that all magazines are bad because there is a Hustler and others like it. National Geographic and Hustler are both magazines, I think D is one too.

    If you do some research on the asbestos issues a couple of things come out rather quickly. The greed and opportunism of the chemical companies makes the greed and opportunism of the tort lawyers come across as infantile at most.

    People working in the asbestos industry were falling over like flies and management was treating them like our government treats soldiers fighting PTSD. They were telling them the cough and illness was their fault and had nothing to do with the cloud of toxic dust that was their work place.

    True story. My uncle Van looked so much like my dad that it was scarey. They were two years apart. Dad went to Europe in WWII. Van went to the Pacific.

    Van came home from the War and married his high school sweetheart. He went to work for Arizona Power for all of his working career. After he retired he went back as a contractor doing special projects for them for many years.

    Van and his wife did the American dream. They built three homes, worked hard, raised two daughters that have been successes in business and as parents themselves.

    Van came down with a cough. That became pneumonia. They found asbestos based cancer whatever it is called. He died a prolonged and very very painfull death.

    It seems in the fifties asbestos was used in the power plants like fu fu spray is used in a house of ill repute. It was everywhere and for any reason.

    It takes thirty to forty years for ill effects of asbestos exposure to sometimes show up. This is the way it happened to Van.

    He did the American dream. Some of us might suggest he died the American death too.

    What John Edwards did was wrong. But his dipping the wick in the wax of a fan has nothing to do with his being a tort attorney.

    If tort attorneyism was the key ingredient in promiscuity and adultery we wouldn’t have divorce courts.

  41. wja4507 says:

    B&B, for whatever its beginnings, has become a legal system blackmail machine. Anecdotal accounts of “my uncle this” or “my company that” won’t work because they cancel each other out. For every good claim or so, there are unfounded ones, or ones unfounded against particular defendants.

    I am an attorney, and I’ve been on the other side of B&B’s significantly dubious claims numerous times. I’ve been privy to the way they run cases: The medical research isn’t there for this one; we’ll put up our hip-pocket “expert” to testify that it is. Now settle! On the other hand, if a guy is really damaged, sue the folks possibly at fault and every other company…who they think is at fault?…no, who they think they can get $$$ from. The company doesn’t want to pay to defend the suit for years, then settle!

    Ultimately, when the noble aim of redressing societal wrongs is corrupted for the purpose of making millions for lawyers, you blame the person at the top of that corruption. That Mr. Baron was complicit in a national political cover-up predicated on a immoral choice just further reveals the way in which he conducts his business.

  42. Gwyon says:

    Attorneys who represent victims are supposed to be above-the-board altruists; those who defend corporations are supposed to be greedy and unscrupulous.