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LITIGATION IS COSTING THOUSANDS OF AMERICAN JOBS, KEENE CHAIRMAN TELLS FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

 LITIGATION IS COSTING THOUSANDS OF AMERICAN JOBS,
 KEENE CHAIRMAN TELLS FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
 BOCA RATON, Fla., March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Overuse and abuse of the litigation process is reducing this nation's competitiveness, raising the price of products and eliminating thousands of American jobs, Glenn W. Bailey, chairman and president of Keene Corporation, told graduate students at Florida Atlantic University here today.
 Claiming that litigation impedes productivity, he pointed to the President's Council on Competitiveness, which reported 47 percent of U.S. manufacturers withdrew products from the marketplace, while 25 percent discontinued some form of product research and 15 percent laid off workers -- all due to litigation.
 "America has one lawyer for every 300 people -- about 70 percent of the world's attorneys -- while Japan has one lawyer for every 10,000 people," Bailey noted.
 Pointing to General Motors, IBM and other companies that are laying off thousand of American workers, he said the nation's factory jobs fell 15 percent between 1980 and 1990 while the country's population increased by 23 million. He noted that former Colorado Gov. Richard Hamm has observed, "No nation in history has ever sued its way to greatness."
 Bailey appeared at the university through the invitation of business school faculty members Eugene Miller as part of a graduate level business course on contemporary business issues.
 Keene is a small company fighting to survive the "asbestos litigation mess" that has bankrupted 16 other companies so far, with the loss of thousands of jobs. Keene acquired a company in 1968 for $8 million and operated it for only four years. A few of that company's insulation products included small amounts of asbestos to meet customers' specifications. Yet, Keene has offered to pay out a total of $500 million to put asbestos litigation behind it.
 Bailey is calling for reforms to the civil justice system that would create an administrative solution for all present and future asbestos claimants. It would also place a cap on punitive damage awards, discourage frivolous lawsuits, limit lawyer's contingent fees and rule out "junk science" experts. The reason such a solution is needed, Bailey said, is that more than 60 percent of all the money spent so far on asbestos litigation has gone to lawyers.
 "To help make this nation competitive again and save American jobs, this country needs an administrative solution to the asbestos litigation mess," Bailey said. "Such a solution would unclog our nation's courts and use available funds to meet the needs of future meritorious claimants.
 "Wherever the American civil justice system is going," he added, "it will get there first in asbestos litigation. Unless the government reforms the civil justice system, growing litigation will continue to crush America's competitiveness and ingenuity on the world stage," Bailey concluded.
 -0- 3/5/92
 /CONTACT: Stuart Rickerson of Keene, 212-557-1900/ CO: Keene Corporation ST: New York, Florida IN: SU:


CK-SH -- NY032 -- 5412 03/05/92 11:35 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 5, 1992
Words:484
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