Asbestos Lessons: The Unattended Consequences of Asbestos Litigation

Document Type



The most up-to-date version of this piece can be found in the Duke Law Scholarship


This essay is in part a result of the author's participation over several years in the meetings of the Panel on Law Science and Technology of the National Academy of Sciences. It was published by the Review of Litigation in 2007. It is a summary of the problems faced by the courts in resolving extremely complex scientific issues arising in a million civil cases arising out of uses of asbestos that also had the incidental effect of saving many thousands of lives. It concludes that a single-payer health care system is to be desired in preference to tort law as a system of allocating costs.

Date of Authorship for this Version

March 2008