Wednesday, March, 20 2013

 

INFORMATIONAL RELEASE:

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Jason Acord, (608) 257-5741

 

The Wisconsin Association for Justice urges defeat of proposed asbestos legislation

On March 15th, “The Pop Tort” released an article related to H.R. 982 citing several examples of how manufacturers who produce products containing asbestos have known that lives could have been saved and lawsuits prevented had they been even the slightest bit transparent about the dangers of asbestos almost a century ago. 

 

Click here is to read the “The Pop Tort” article: http://www.thepoptort.com/2013/03/the-two-faces-of-asbestos-transparency.html

Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and exposure can cause mesithelioma, lung, gastrointestinal, laryngeal and ovarian cancers, as well as non-malignant lung and pleural disorders. The World Health Organization estimates that 107,000 workers around the world will die every year of an asbestos-related disease, equaling 300 deaths per day.

On March 13th a hearing was held at the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law to discuss H.R. 982, "Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013" Introduced by Rep. Blake Farenthold [R-TX.]

H.R. 982 continues to make it more difficult for victims to obtain justice for illnesses caused by manufacturers of asbestos that continue to cause the deadly disease and paves the way to give them secrecy for their negligence. H.R 982 ultimately allows the manufacturers to use special bankruptcy laws to reduce their asbestos liability through the creation of trusts. As a result, most asbestos victims are grossly undercompensated or often die before they get a chance to testify in open court.

Similar legislation is being proposed in Wisconsin, promoted by lobbyists for the asbestos industry. Senate Bill 13 (SB-13) and Assembly Bill 19 (AB-19) introduced in February is just the latest effort in this campaign to delay or deny justice to people who are injured or die as a result of asbestos or other dangerous products. The legislation is an attack on Wisconsin's sickest and weakest citizens, who through no fault of their own have a deadly disease. 

The Wisconsin Association for Justice (WAJ) expresses strong opposition to SB- 13 and AB-19 for the following reasons:

  • SB-13 and AB-19 adds more regulations and bureaucracy to asbestos cases by requiring dying individuals to chase small and insignificant recoveries from asbestos trusts before they may pursue more substantial recoveries in court.
  •  Delaying an asbestos case may jeopardize the entire case.  The requirements of SB-13 and AB-19 will essentially create so many hurdles that many of the asbestos victims will die before discovery ensues and their testimony is preserved. It is exceedingly difficult to gather evidence from 30-50 years ago and make a case if you have no testimony from the person who actually was exposed to the asbestos.
  • Bankruptcy courts are governed by federal law.  Any state court valuation or determination of the rights of a person, which is under the jurisdiction of a bankruptcy court, would violate the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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The Mission of the Wisconsin Association for Justice is to promote a fair and effective justice system - one that ensures justice for all, not just a privileged few.

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