Sheldon Silver Corruption Case Unfairly Maligns Mesothelioma Research

On January 24th, the New York Times published a lengthy article about the corruption case against Sheldon Silver, a high ranking member of the New York Legislature and an attorney.

The case is focused on an arrangement where Mr. Silver directed public money and grants to a mesothelioma research facility in exchange for mesothelioma cases which he and his firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, profited from.

The allegation that he provided state funds in exchange for personal financial gain is important to be rooted out but the article also seemed to indict the law firms that undertook protecting those afflicted with asbestos disease and mesothelioma.

The gist of the condemnation was that these law firms contributed money to research a cure for mesothelioma at Columbia Medical School in exchange for new clients to represent.

The article references that because ONLY 3,000 people a year are given death sentences with a mesothelioma diagnosis, government and drug companies consider mesothelioma a low priority.

What is wrong with lawyers who represent mesothelioma victims, who see the pain of families destroyed by this most deadly of cancers, contributing large sums of money for research for a cure when no one else will?

The fact that these law firms, both of whom are excellent trial counsel, may have obtained clients and if they were able to win their case, fees for their work, is only what they would do for any client. The article clearly states that Weitz & Luxenberg were “not accused of wrongdoing”.

We represent the public who were poisoned by the uncaring and corrupt asbestos industry and their privately paid doctors who hid the truth about asbestos for six decades.

The New York Times should have reminded its readers that it was the doctors on the payroll of the asbestos industry who are to be condemned and allow the public to understand that most of the victims of asbestos today would not have been exposed if industry and their doctor allies had not lied for decades.