Third Circuit Gets It Right in Cahill Fraud Case

September 10, 2014 – In The News
The Litigation Daily
Jeffrey M. Pollock was quoted in the Litigation Daily article “Third Circuit Gets It Right in Cahill Fraud Case.” While the full text can be found in the September 10, 2014, issue of The Litigation Daily, a synopsis is noted below.

In a fraud case against Cahill Gordon & Reindel and BASF Catalysts LLC, class action plaintiffs accuse Cahill and BASF of destroying evidence that Engelhard Corp. (which BASF bought in 2006) sold talc products containing asbestos and then lied about the existence of that evidence in thousands of personal injury lawsuits for more than two decades.

BASF and Cahill had convinced New Jersey U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler to dismiss the case. They persuaded the judge that these alleged tactics were immunized by litigation privilege, which broadly protects lawyers from lawsuits based on their statements in judicial proceedings.

Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit overturned Chesler and held that the plaintiffs could sue Cahill and BASF for the alleged scheme to thwart their lawsuits.

The judges felt so strongly that they went beyond the legal approach advocated by the plaintiffs. Pollock, their lead lawyer, had suggested that the privilege should cover litigation statements, but not statements connected to fraudulent actions, such as the destruction of evidence. (Pollock and his co-counsel Christopher Placitella of Cohen, Placitella & Roth earned Litigators of the Week honors for their Third Circuit win.)