AIA Hails House Passage of Asbestos Trust Transparency and Tort Reform Legislation

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The American Insurance Association (AIA) hailed congressional passage of H.R. 985, The Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act of 2017.

The American Insurance Association (AIA) hailed congressional passage of H.R. 985, The Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act of 2017. The legislation aims to bring needed transparency to our nation’s asbestos-related personal injury trust fund system. HR 985 passed the House by a vote of 220-201, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

A statement from Tom Santos, AIA’s vice president for federal affairs follows:

“AIA was pleased to see the passage of H.R. 985, which provides needed transparency to the asbestos trust fund system. We thank Rep. Farenthold (R-TX) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA) for their leadership and support on this important issue.

The asbestos trusts were established to compensate asbestos victims, and they operate in tandem with the traditional tort system. Unfortunately, they offer only rudimentary reports on the claims they receive and pay. As a result, plaintiffs’ attorneys are sometimes able to hide the fact that a single individual is making multiple claims, citing different and contradictory exposure facts, against multiple trusts. This ‘double dipping’ exposes innocent businesses to abusive lawsuits and deprives the trusts of funds intended for legitimate victims.

H.R. 985 rectifies this problem by requiring the trusts to file quarterly reports disclosing information on claims and payments to the bankruptcy courts. Importantly, these modest disclosures protect the confidentiality of the victims, while deterring fraudulent and duplicative claims.

We urge the Senate to take up and pass the FACT Act.”

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