Senate Searches for Bipartisan Solution for Asbestos Litigation Crisis

June 5, 2003

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday entitled “Solving the Asbestos Litigation Crisis” to examine the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act of 2003, introduced by Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in May. The hearing addressed the ongoing asbestos litigation crisis, the constitutionality of the Hatch proposal, the compensation levels that would be associated with medical criteria, and an economic analysis of the need for legislation.

“The need for asbestos litigation reform has magnified over the past few years with businesses of all sizes and shapes experiencing a dramatic increase of litigation, even those who had nothing to do with manufacturing asbestos products,” said Carl Parks, senior vice president, government relations, National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII).

“NAII supports a final bill that will include medical criteria to determine who is sick, protection for peripheral/tertiary defendants who are unfairly dragged into asbestos litigation, and provides for finality for all participants,” added Parks. It is important to NAII that a trust fund approach doesn’t end up shifting asbestos burdens from insurers with great exposure to insurers with less exposure.

“NAII encourages members of the committee to work together to develop compromise legislation. We hope the differences of opinion currently held by the Judiciary committee members will get resolved during the mark up session scheduled for June 12,” added Parks.

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