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Mass tort litigation provides ample opportunity for filing spurious claims. Last November, a Philadelphia federal judge sharply criticized two small New York plaintiffs’ firms for allegedly having submitted dubious claims to a fen-phen diet pill settlement trust. U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found that 78 claimants did not, in fact, show evidence of heart valve damage, notwithstanding diagnoses to that effect by two physicians retained by the firms. One of those physicians had been paid $725,000 to interpret 725 echocardiograms, while the other was getting a contingent $1500 bonus for each diagnosed claim that was paid by the trust, the judge found. Although it may be shocking, it is very small potatoes compared with the diagnostic irregularities that have been knowingly and routinely tolerated in the asbestos realm for years – all while drawing essentially no press attention.

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