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Brown ad misleadingly cites Globe story

Senator Scott Brown is running a television ad that misleadingly cites a Boston Globe story to argue that his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren, fought asbestos victims in a major lawsuit.

While there were victims who opposed Warren’s arguments, the story reported that the attorneys who represented most of the victims were on Warren’s side in the case, which went to the Supreme Court.

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The Brown campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

“Elizabeth Warren got paid $212,000 helping Travelers Insurance fight asbestos victims in court,” the ad asserts, citing a May 1 Globe story.

That Globe story, which chronicled the Travelers case in detail, did report that Warren was paid $212,000 by Travelers from 2008 to 2010.

But despite Brown’s contention that Warren fought victims, the Globe reported that the attorneys who were represented most of the victims supported Warren’s efforts to grant Travelers immunity from asbestos-related lawsuits in exchange for the company setting up a $500 million trust, to be divided among current and future claimants.

Travelers won the immunity. But after a series of legal twists, the company avoided paying the $500 million settlement. Warren was no longer involved at that point, but Brown argues she should have foreseen that potential result. Brown’s ad, citing a line from the Globe story, correctly notes: “The case has turned out disastrous for victims.”

Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.
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