Bloomberg Law’s combination of innovative analytics, research tools and practical guidance provides you with everything you need to be a successful litigator.
Asbestos compensation trusts would have to disclose information about claimants if a bill approved Feb. 15 by the House Judiciary Committee becomes law.
The panel voted 19-11 to approve the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act (H.R. 906).
Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-Va), a co-sponsor, said the bill is needed because bankruptcy trusts formed for the benefit of asbestos victims have been “diluted by fraudulent claims leaving these victims without their entitled recovery.”
But the committee’s top Democrat, John Conyers of Michigan, said before voting against the measure that there is “no evidence of endemic fraud to allow such an invasive bill.”
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex), was expected to pass the House. Senate prospects are uncertain.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other supporters say the legislation is needed to reduce fraudulent claims against asbestos compensation trusts for individuals harmed by bankrupt companies.
The “lack of transparency and accountability in asbestos bankruptcy trusts has led to rampant and systemic abuse that threatens their ability to meet the needs of future claimants,” Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, said in a Feb. 15 statement supporting the bill.
“The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act will reduce ‘double-dip’ claims against the trusts and in the tort system by requiring the trusts to report quarterly on who files claims. This system will protect individuals’ personal information just the same as the courts do,” Rickard said.
Opponents, including consumer groups and most veterans’ organizations, contend the measure will slow payments and is a ploy by business groups to undercut the asbestos injury compensation system.
A 2016 letter from numerous veterans’ groups, including American Veterans in Lanham, Md. and the Military Order of the Purple Heart in Springfield, Va., said the bill will require asbestos trusts to publish their “sensitive information” on a public database, and include how much money individuals received and other private data.
“Forcing our veterans to publicize their work histories, medical conditions, social security numbers, and information about their children and families is an offensive invasion of privacy to the men and women who have honorably served, and it does nothing to assure their adequate compensation or to prevent further asbestos exposure and death,” the groups said.
In 2016, the House passed a nearly identical asbestos bill by a 211-188 margin.
That measure had been combined with legislation revamping federal class action procedure. The two bills are now separate.
The 2016 Senate version (S. 357), sponsored by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz), never made it out of the Judiciary Committee.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Kaufman in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at email@example.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)