Fred Baron, a Democratic party fundraiser and well-known environmental trial lawyer, lost his fight for life Thursday. He was 61
Baron had multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.
His condition became known when his son, Andrew, fought with the Mayo Clinic to obtain permission to use the experimental treatment, Tysabri.
Baron had a host of high-profile supporters backing his request including Lance Armstrong, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Ted Kennedy.
They encouraged drug company, Biogen Idec Inc to allow use of the drug, despite the fact it was six weeks into a clinical trial for multiple myeloma.
Biogen, felt it might jeopardize the drug trial, but finally granted the approval.
The American Association for Justice, an organization of trial lawyers which he headed in 2002, said in a statement, “Fred was someone who always put others first, whether it be his family, firm, clients, our Association, or the country. And we all remember his wonderful smile, enormous generosity, and infectious positive attitude that will continue to inspire and make us all better people, and better advocates for our clients.”
The Dallas News reports that Mr. Baron was especially well respected in Texas political circles as a champion of the people.
"A fierce advocate for those who believed they had no voice, Fred made it his life mission to protect and defend those who needed the most help," said Texas Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie.
Baron amassed a fortune he used to rejuvenate the Democratic Party in Texas.
Known as the “King of Torts”, he represented clients injured by toxic substances beginning more than 30 years ago with an asbestos case. It was a case that his own employer had rejected and led to Baron to national prominence in asbestos litigation, founding his own law firm.
Ironically, multiple myeloma has been seen among the first responders to the World Trade 9/11 attack, many of whom inhaled toxic dust from the site.
Baron was educated at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1968. While attending law school there, Baron heard Ralph Nader speak, which influenced him to use law to regulate business in a way government did not.
Baron and his wife, lawyer Lisa Blue-Baron opened their home to social justice organizations for fundraisers of all kinds.
The Baron & Blue Foundation was established by the couple to improve homelessness and low-cost housing options around Dallas. The Barons founded the Texas Democratic Trust, which supports the arts.
More recently Baron was connected financially with moving the woman who had an affair with John Edwards. Baron was the lead fundraiser for Edwards, who has kept a low-profile since the affair was revealed.
Baron is survived by his wife, two adult children and three young children.
The family is asking flowers and donations be made to the Texas Democratic Trust or the Lance Armstrong Foundation. #