The May 4 Houston Chronicle article ("Business drubs consumers before high court") paints a slanted picture. Who are these "consumers" ? A recent Supreme Court decision reversing an appellate decision gives us a glimpse. Two contract electricians sued a major company for damages due to their fear of developing an asbestos-related disease later in life. The two sawed holes in an asbestos-cement countertop and inhaled some of the dust. Their doctor testified that the odds of their developing asbestosis or cancer in 20 years was thereby increased from one in a million to one in a hundred. There was no scientific basis for this assumption, thus the reversal.
The great majority of consumer suits that have merit are either settled or adjudicated without appeals. It is mostly the kooky, outrageous cases like this that reach the Supreme Court. Thankfully, we have reached a point where there is a modicum of common sense and fairness in Supreme Court decisions. Extortive lawsuits should be squelched and this is not "anti-consumer".
Ray E. Dittmar, Houston