Some believe that when Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren agreed to serve as counsel for Travelers Insurance in an asbestos lawsuit in 2009 that she gave up her right to call herself an advocate for the common man. But, says Warren, she had no idea the lawsuit would end up in a position that has allowed Travelers to avoid paying asbestos victims.
According to an article in the Boston Globe, Warren has been attacked for her work defending the mega insurance company in the 3-year-old case, which hasn’t ended the way she thought it would. Many constituents believe that siding with Travelers means she’s not the consumer advocate she wants voters to believe she is. Her work for Travelers has also become a major attack point for her opponent, Republican Scott Brown, a current US Senator.
Warren, who is a Harvard Law School graduate and expert in bankruptcy law, maintains that she had no way of recognizing that the suit would end up as it has – with Travelers being able to avoid paying victims who suffered asbestos exposure due to their work in a variety of industries. Though Travelers was indeed seeking protection from paying future asbestos claims, she explains, the decision made in regards to the suit was supposed to unlock the door on a $500 million settlement for asbestos victims. This settlement was supported by the many mesothelioma cancer victims involved in the suit, Warren explained.
But after she left the case, Travelers won a ruling that allowed them to avoid paying victims from the settlement. It was a decision Warren says she didn’t expect at all. Now, advocates for asbestos victims on both sides of the fence are stopping just short of calling Warren a traitor, but the senatorial candidate maintains that any decisions beyond the initial one were out of her hands.
“After I left the case, the lower court made the wrong decision,” she told the media.
Warren said the idea behind the trust was for everyone to get compensated and noted that asbestos workers’ unions and the plaintiffs’ lawyers stood behind her when the settlement for the victims was offered.