I guess in my excitement to put out the CALA 2013 Legal Turkey Awards I overlooked one case in particular that should have been on the list.

The case is that of Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York. Before becoming a Congresswoman, Carolyn McCarthy was a nurse for 30 years and reportedly a heavy smoker for 40 years. Sadly, she was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. This is an awful disease, but for a heavy smoker, it is not surprising. But wait, there is more.

The Congresswoman has decided to sue more than 70 asbestos companies, claiming that her cancer was caused by the asbestos fibers carried home on the clothes of father and brothers, who worked on navy ships and in utilities. In her legal filing, Congresswoman McCarthy is quoted as saying, “My asbestos related condition has disrupted my life, limiting my everyday activities and interfering with living a normal life.”

Wait, what about the decades of heavy smoking? Isn’t smoking known to cause cancer? In her attempt to gain money from asbestos companies, Congresswoman McCarthy is claiming she knows for a fact that her cancer is “asbestos related,” when she inhaled known carcinogens for decades in the form of cigarette smoke.

This case magnifies a larger development in the arena of asbestos litigation. Since trial lawyers have exhausted the pool of mesothelioma claimants, they are turning to lung cancer patients, and are filing thousands of cases on behalf of smokers who claim that stray asbestos fibers, not cigarettes, made them sick. In doing so, they are continuing a disturbing trend of plaintiffs’ lawyers relying upon junk science that defies common sense and scientific fact in the pursuit of a lawsuit.

The shakedown lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers have gone on for decades and Congresswoman McCarthy is just another person seeking a jackpot. I wish the Congresswoman the best in battling her lung cancer, but this lawsuit is absurd. This is not about asbestos, but about taking personal responsibility for your actions. I hope she will seriously reconsider and withdraw her lawsuit.