This is the first in a series of blog posts about Elizabeth Hanke’s “Breaking Down the Data” presentation, which created a great deal of buzz at the Perrin National Asbestos Litigation Conference in September.
I love crisscrossing data. The only thing more fun is sharing your findings.
I had the opportunity to do both after being invited to take part in the panel discussion Corporate Roundtable: In-house Perspectives on Asbestos Litigation at Perrin’s Asbestos Litigation Conference last month.
My fellow participants were Nina Lynn Caroselli, Chief Operating Officer at The RiverStone Group; Holly A. Harris, Senior Counsel at Chevron Products Company; and Paul Slater, Senior Counsel at General Electric Company. Our moderator was Thomas W. Tardy, III of Forman Watkins Krutz & Tardy LLP.
Obviously, I was the sole person on the panel who was not inside counsel — or for that matter, an attorney. So as I prepared for our discussion, I began considering what they would care about, which led me to a resource right under my nose: KCIC’s complaint database.
Our comprehensive database materially contains all personal injury asbestos lawsuits filed in the U.S. in 2014, as well as nearly all of those filed, to date, in 2015.
As I sliced and diced the data, an interesting picture emerged. I painted that picture in the resulting presentation: “Breaking Down the Data”, which you can download here.
In short, I was able to show that the same defendants …
are getting sued by the same plaintiffs …
in the same places …
over and over again.
As I shared specifics, they led to one jaw-dropping number: 300,000 legal transactions each year. That’s a stunning cost of doing business!
By the time the presentation was over, hundreds had filled the room and were holding up their phones, taking pictures of my slides. Several attendees approached me afterward. They wondered how often their company is named with a particular other company, and what percent of complaints they are named on.
At first, I was a bit surprised by the reaction. After all, what I shared is all public data. But I realized that no one else had aggregated it that way. KCIC was the first to provide the missing link: the denominator. Suddenly everyone was getting a grasp on the size of the pie … and how big their slice is.
Those a-ha moments are what I most enjoy in my work. I’ll get a chance to create more such moments when I give the presentation again at the Asbestos Defense Strategic Summit, Nov. 4 in Las Vegas, the day before the start of DRI. Perrin has asked me to take part in another panel that currently has the working title “Where Cases are Being Filed”. I hope you can join us.
Watch for my next post to see exactly how lopsided the asbestos litigation business is.