January 23, 2019

U.S. Chamber Commends House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Asbestos Trust Transparency Legislation


Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal
Reform (ILR), made the following statement regarding today’s hearing on
the “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2015” (H.R.
526) in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. The legislation would
require asbestos personal injury settlement trusts, which currently
operate with little oversight and transparency, to report on their

“We applaud Representatives Blake Farenthold and Tom Marino for
introducing this legislation, and the House Judiciary Committee for
holding today’s hearing. Abuse of the asbestos compensation system is a
national problem, and the recent indictment in New York with allegations
of kickbacks and self-dealing is just the latest example. Evidence of
plaintiffs’ lawyers manipulating and withholding key information
continues to unfold in the Garlock bankruptcy case, which stands
out as ‘exhibit A’ of the systemic fraud in asbestos litigation.

“Exploitation of the system drains the funds available to deserving
claimants and forces solvent companies, as well as their shareholders
and employees, to pay more than their fair share when claimants ‘double
dip’ in court and in the trust systems. The FACT Act would diminish the
damaging economic ripple effect of these abuses, without impacting
legitimate asbestos claims.”

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative,
political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state,
and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation
representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all
sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and
industry associations.







U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR)

Justin Hakes, 202-463-3156

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U.S. Chamber Commends House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Asbestos Trust Transparency Legislation

Fears that court reform may hit claims over asbestosis

MSPs are to consider the final stage of the Court Reform (Scotland) Bill this afternoon, which includes plans to create new personal injury courts to speed up proceedings.

Victims and campaigners are concerned that the proposals could see some complex asbestos cases moved away from Scotland’s highest civil court, the Court of Session, in turn losing out on the experience and knowledge of the country’s most senior judges.

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There are also concerns that although specialist solicitor advocates are automatically instructed in the Court of Session that would not be the case for claimants at a sheriff or personal injury court level.

Campaigners claim this would create an uneven playing field as large insurance companies can afford to pay higher costs for their legal representation.

Phyllis Craig, chairwoman of Clydeside Action on Asbestos, said: “Asbestos victims from all over Scotland are coming to Holyrood to make a personal plea to Kenny MacAskill. They’re saying please don’t allow your new court reform to stop us and our families getting justice for what’s been done to us.

“More victims than ever are coming forward.

“He may not have intended it but the Justice Secretary’s reform will end up stacking the odds very much in favour of the insurance companies who, to their shame, will use any means they can to avoid admitting liability.

“The men and women suffering these conditions must be protected by our justice system not forgotten about in the drive for reform.”

The Scottish Government claims that after the reform process, asbestosis cases will be able to be heard in the sheriff court, the new specialist personal injury court or the Court of Session, depending on its complexity and the value of the damages sought.

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Fears that court reform may hit claims over asbestosis