Hey, take a look at the “confidential memo” just leaked to us!
To: American Tort Reform Association Members
From: PR Department
Date: July 20, 2015
Re: Please don’t fire us
We know, sometimes we go a little overboard trying to deflect attention from the wrongdoing of our members, or from like-minded lowlifes and miscreants. Like when we commented on Michigan legislation to immunize the wrongdoing of a Michigan doctor who was such a monster that People Magazine wrote about it in one of those “medical nightmare” features. We replied, “People are launching multimillion-dollar lawsuits because their alcoholic, chain-smoking, fat relative died in an emergency room.” OK maybe not the most skillful attempt to deflect. But sometimes foul, offensive words just pour out of our mouths. We can't help it.
Donald Trump knows exactly what we mean. We’re just passionate people. However, we realize now that attacking veterans and members of the military is probably not the smartest maneuver. So please accept our apology about last week’s “rare midyear adjustment” to our demented PR stunt of a study, “Judicial Hellholes.” We released this "adjustment" for the sole purpose of “elevating” military town, Newport News VA, to full “judicial hellhole” status because of asbestos cases. We can hear you scratching your heads. Let us try to explain.
We don’t know exactly how many hard-working Navy shipyard workers have lived and worked at Newport News Shipbuilding through the years, cutting and removing pipes and gaskets that are full of asbestos. But I am sure many of them are probably now dying of asbestos disease – and a bunch have filed claims and lawsuits to get compensation for their families before they die. We had to do something! Besides, our asbestos industry members expected us to act (and Koch Industries kinda scares us.)
Like Mr. Trump, we realized we could get a lot of mileage out of discrediting vets. Actually, we thought that was already “mission accomplished.” In 2014, a North Carolina judge – in his first and only asbestos case – decided to reduce by 90 percent the amount Garlock Sealing Technologies, one of the world’s largest asbestos-containing gasket and packing manufacturers, owes the more than 4,000 Navy service members and other victims who have or will die from mesothelioma. As noted by the Court, mesothelioma “is always fatal, causing death essentially by suffocation within about eighteen months of diagnosis” and involves “a horrific death.” To strip them of compensation allowing Garlock to keep almost all of it, the judge had to misstate the actual trial testimony of a nuclear trained machinist who repaired and maintained nuclear propulsion plant equipment while serving in the Navy, including Garlock gaskets. The judge essentially had to believe that Navy vets knowingly participated in misleading the courts. How we got a judge to rule that way, we’ll never know. But clearly we had to do more.
We will say one thing, though: Between Garlock, our “rare midyear adjustment,” and Pro Publica’s brand new investigation about how sailors exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War can’t get disability and healthcare benefits, sick Navy vets can’t catch a break lately! (Let’s make sure Congress doesn’t give them those benefits, by the way.)
But maybe the timing of our release wasn’t quite right. Unfortunately, we’re finding out now that once you insult veterans and the military, it’s hard to backtrack even if you wanted to.
Please don’t fire us.