No doubt, many of you will have heard of Fred Baron, one of the most prolific, controversial and wealthy plaintiffs’ asbestos lawyers in history. Somewhere in my reading yesterday, I came across an article that Fred had died. "Texas lawyer Frederick M. 'Fred' Baron dies at 61"
Fred Baron is the guy who paid the money to fly John Edward’s girlfriend to California just prior to the affair making headlines. He’s the one that stood up against all the other plaintiffs’ lawyers in the country and took two cases to the U.S. Supreme Court which attempted to put asbestos victims into class actions, where they would be slotted for set damages based upon a predetermined schedule, effectively denying them their right to a jury trial.
They managed to push the bean counter witness to the last slot, and then adjourned on Friday, December 22 without having the bean counter take the stand and instead taking Christmas break. I quit my job at 4:00 a.m. on December 26, cleaned out my office and moved into my Mercedes Benz where I drifted around the country, essentially living in my car. I had given away all my worldly possessions prior to that to my ex-wife. Red Baron was one of the reasons why I had jumped off the cliff, abandon the practice of law, and set out to change every aspect of my life.
Fred was a good man who did better than most putting his clients first. He had a sense of priority, decency and a strong idea of what was right. While so many other asbestos attorneys were simply doing mathematical calculations in their head about how much they would make, Fred kept his eye on the ball.
I’m a better person for having known Fred Baron. I would encourage all of you to read the article summarizing his accomplishments in life. His death reminds me what a long strange trip it truly has been.