A railroad company’s dogged pursuit of conspiracy and fraud charges against an asbestos law firm is unfolding in a federal appellate court and with a major assist from business and tort reform groups.

In an unusual role reversal, CSX Transportation Inc., the target of thousands of asbestos claims brought by Pittsburgh’s Robert Peirce & Associates, sued the law firm five years ago for allegedly engaging in a claims-manufacturing scheme in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.