Rice piling up money from personal injury heavyweights

By John O'Brien | May 20, 2010


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Contributions from four major personal injury law firms are a significant portion of New York Attorney General-hopeful Kathleen Rice's campaign fund.

One of those three is Houston's Bailey Perrin Bailey, which has donated heavily to officials who have hired them to represent their respective states in litigation. The contributions were brought to light in a recent New York Times report.

Bailey Perrin Bailey has given $46,000 to Rice, the Nassau County district attorney hoping to earn the Democratic nomination.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell hired BPB, which donated $75,000 to his campaign fund and offered $16,000 in air travel, for a case against three pharmaceutical companies.

The firm donated $75,000 to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who hired it for a case against Eli Lilly & Co., and $70,000 to the Arkansas Democratic Party in 2006. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel also hired BPB to sue Eli Lilly.

Also contributing to Rice is Illinois firm Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd, donated $46,599 to Rice last December, the article states.

Simmons and his firm are among the most prolific filers of asbestos lawsuits in Madison County, a docket which is once again becoming one of the busiest in the country with most claims being made by out of state residents.

In 2008, the firm formerly named SimmonsCooper contributed at least $34,600 to Delaware Governor Jack Markell's election effort.

And, in 2005 and 2006, SimmonsCooper contributed at least $114,250 to Delaware Sen. Joe Biden's campaign for a seventh term.

Biden's former presidential bid received at least $46,450 from SimmonsCooper in 2007. SimmonsCooper contributed at least $34,800 to Biden's son, Beau Biden, in his successful campaign for Delaware attorney general in 2006.

The firm where Beau Biden worked -- Bifferato, Gentilotti, Biden & Balick -- has filed asbestos suits in New Castle County Court in Wilmington for SimmonsCooper, representing plaintiffs from all over the nation.

The article also mentions to New York firms -- Weitz & Luxenberg and Seeger Weiss.

Five lawyers at the Weitz firm contributed a combined $236,698 -- or 12 percent of Rice's campaign fund -- the article says. Rice hired the son of Perry Weitz as an assistant district attorney last year.

"She's a Nassau County D.A. I live in Nassau County," Arthur Luxenberg told the Times. "Perry Weitz was originally in Nassau County. We've given money to her going back many, many years. It's not a recent occurrence.

"I don't hope to get anything out of it."

Christopher Seeger contributed $30,000, the article says.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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