Enough to Make You Sick

In the struggle for a shrinking pot of money from asbestos litigation, the sickest victims are getting nickels and dimes while lawyers get their millions

"I really strongly disagree with that," Baron said, smiling. "Particularly the words 'all but.'"


Fort Worth's Lynne Bailey says she has met other women over the past several years with ill husbands who have far less economic security than she has been able to attain.

"I know a 70-year-old lady who might get nothing," says the 62-year-old widow. "I also have an acquaintance who is in an asbestos suit, and he doesn't have anything wrong with him. He worked at a certain place where a bunch of people were suing and he put in. There's a lot of frivolous lawsuits, I think."

Lynne Bailey of Fort Worth lost her husband, Ronald, to mesothelioma, a rare and incurable form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Since his death in 2000, she has witnessed firsthand the results of a national battle over asbestos lawsuits.
Mark Graham
Lynne Bailey of Fort Worth lost her husband, Ronald, to mesothelioma, a rare and incurable form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Since his death in 2000, she has witnessed firsthand the results of a national battle over asbestos lawsuits.
Dallas attorney Mark Iola, who handled Ronald Bailey's case, believes that only people with serious health problems should be able to sue asbestos defendants.
Mark Graham
Dallas attorney Mark Iola, who handled Ronald Bailey's case, believes that only people with serious health problems should be able to sue asbestos defendants.

Bailey, who worked as an optician when her husband became ill, says he was on more than two dozen medications as his disease progressed, some costing as much as $1,000 a shot.

"Money was a big issue for us," she says. "It's horrible enough to face it, but it's even worse when you're struggling with the money situation. When they get sick, that's when they need the money."

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