In what sounds like a plot for a new John Grisham novel, a multimillion-dollar asbestos-related personal-injury case pitting Dallas’ Baron & Budd against Exxon Corp. was handed over Oct. 18 to the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel for investigation into allegations of jury tampering and possible fraud.

If the ODC decides to investigate, the delay could put the trial off for at least a year, and result in punishments ranging from a reprimand to disbarment. Voir dire for Anne Matt Roberts, et al. v. Owens Corning, et al. in Plaquemine, La., was well under way Oct. 12. Baron & Budd associate Richard Nemeroff had already questioned the panel, and Exxon’s lawyer, Gary Bezet of Baton Rouge, says he was quite pleased with the venire until he asked panel members if anyone had contacted them about the case. Two potential jurors mentioned that they had received questionable phone calls from someone purporting to be from the clerk of court’s office.

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