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Asbestos litigation has given rise to over 50,000,000 claims against 8400 former producers, distributors, installers and sellers of asbestos-containing products. To date, 850,000 claimants have sought compensation, costing businesses and insurance companies over $70 billion and resulting in more than 70 bankruptcies. Over 100,000 deaths are attributable to asbestos exposure with an additional 40,000 deaths anticipated over the next 30 years. Despite the significance of the ethical issues generated by the processes of acquiring, pressing and settling the most massive litigation in history, the legal literature is substantially devoid of any such discussion. One possible reason for this paucity of coverage is that rules of ethics are rarely applied to asbestos litigation despite clear and systematic violations of those rules. In practice, it is as if each state supreme court had appended to its rules of ethics, the following exclusion: These rules shall not apply to asbestos litigation.

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Hofstra Law Review

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