Some workers interviewed at a mass asbestos screening conducted by a plaintiffs' firm at their union hall had this to say:
"I saw the notice in the union newsletter and said, 'Why not?'" said an automotive worker from Ford. Sitting on the tailgate of his shiny, new Chevy pickup and lighting a fresh cigarette off the one he had just finished, he added: "It's better than the lottery. If they find something, I get a few thousand dollars I didn't have. If they don't find anything, I've just lost an afternoon."
Standing nearby, a Boeing worker 10 days from retirement volunteered, "The lawyers said I could get $10,000 or $12,000 if the shadow is big enough, and I know just the fishing boat I'd buy with that."
Asked if he'd ever worked with asbestos, he said, "No, but lawyers say it's all over the place, so I was probably exposed to it."
What they don't realize is that by taking a small payment now, they sign away their rights to sue if they ever really get sick. And they're sucking up a limited pool of funds that should go to those who really need it. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a long article about it here .