Shepard Hoffman once donned a Darth Vader costume at one of the annual seminars he organizes for asbestos plaintiffs lawyers in a quirky demonstration of what he calls the evil ways of asbestos manufacturers.

So why did Hoffman and Houston plaintiff’s lawyer W. Mark Lanier, who in 1998 won what Lanier says is this country’s largest asbestos verdict — $115.7 million — defend a member of what Hoffman calls the “evil empire?”

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