December 20, 2018 Techno Ethics

Battling (with) Double-Edged Swords

By James Ellis Arden

Back in 1991 the Baltimore, Maryland, offices of Brobeck Phleger & Harrison were preparing for a large trial of 9,032 asbestos-related claims when a temporary secretary hit the wrong speed-dial button on a fax machine and sent psychological profiles of prospective jurors to the wrong law firm. The secretary testified the exposure “was a mistake.” Um, yes. The judge called the incident “bizarre,” halted the largest asbestos trial in U.S. history one month into jury selection, struck all the jurors, and started the trial over again: “I do that with profound reluctance.”

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