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U.S. Chamber Commends Judiciary Committee Passage of Asbestos Trust Transparency Bill

Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 8:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), made the following statement today about the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s passage of the “Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act of 2012.”  The bill would require asbestos bankruptcy trusts, established to pay current and future asbestos personal injury claims, to report claimant filing information on a quarterly basis to the federal bankruptcy courts.

“We commend the House Judiciary Committee for bringing much needed transparency to a broken asbestos compensation system that is largely driven by the growing number of asbestos bankruptcy trusts operating in secrecy throughout the country.  The opaque nature of the trust system, and its inherent lack of accountability, has created perverse incentives for the trial bar to abuse the system for pecuniary gain.  Indeed, over the past several years, more and more instances of troubling specious claiming have come to light where asbestos lawyers have submitted inconsistent claims in the tort system when compared to what is being said to the various bankruptcy trusts.

“This bill’s reporting requirements would ensure that trusts have sufficient funds to pay legitimate claims by rooting out fraud in the system.  We therefore urge the full House to pass the bipartisan FACT Act swiftly.”

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.