Harron, others named in Miss. suit over asbestos scheme

LEXINGTON, Miss. — An embattled West Virginia radiologist, his son and others have been sued in Mississippi on racketeering and other charges related to an alleged scheme involving asbestos screenings for lawsuits across the nation.

Ray Harrron and Andrew Harron are two of the defendants named in a lawsuit filed Feb. 9 in Holmes County Circuit Court by National Service Industries, also known as North Brothers.

“The primary cause of this action is a widespread unlawful enterprise engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity across state lines and a conspiracy to engage in racketeering activity involving numerous RICO (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) predicate acts for at least the past 10 calendar years,” the complaint states. “The predicate acts include mail fraud and wire fraud …”

Since 1995, the defendants “have schemed to generate false medical test results, false medical reports and false diagnoses to substantiate tens of thousands of personal injury cases filed against plaintiff and other similarly situated companies or bankruptcy trusts involving allegations of asbestos related disease.”

NSI says the defendants engaged in this “unlawful scheme for the purpose of monetary gain by creating fraudulent medical documentation to make the individuals that they recruited and ‘screened’ appear to suffer from asbestos-related disease to extract money from plaintiff and others through the court system and/or claims settlements.”

NSI describes the acts of Harron and the other defendants as “mass assembly-line screenings of persons suspected of work-related exposure to products containing asbestos.”

Others defendants named are N&M Inc., Charlie Heath Mason, Molly Ruth Netherland, Christopher Linn Taylor and yet unnamed John Doe defendants 1-20.

The defendants’ screenings typically included the generation of exposure histories, chest x-rays, accompanying reads by physicians, physical exams, pulmonary function tests and diagnoses by Harron and other defendants for personal injury law firms.

“These law firms then used this purported “medical evidence” to file and/or settle thousands of asbestos-related injury claims,” the complaint states. “Defendants’ screenings were massive recruitment programs carried out for personal injury law firms and attorneys on targeted populations of current and former industrial and construction workers with the sole purpose of generating a phenomenal volume of potential claimants as clients for these law firms.”

The lawsuit says the defendants spent more than $1.5 million “aggressively marketing” their screening services to their law firm and attorney “customers” and on mass advertisements soliciting individual subjects for screening.

Legal Newsline
2/13/9