Senate Judiciary Committee Passes FAIR Act

May 26, 2005

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed S. 852, the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act, by a vote of 13-5.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced S. 852 that would create a privately funded,
publicly administered trust fund to provide resources for an asbestos
injury claims resolution program. The total amount of the fund would
be $140 billion with the insurance industry responsible for $46.025 billion.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Orrin
Hatch, R-Utah, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, Max Baucus, D-Mont., George Voinovich, R-Ohio, Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and David Vitter, R-La.

“We applaud Senator Specter’s dedication and leadership to address the asbestos litigation crisis,” said David Winston, NAMIC Federal Affairs senior vice president. “The Chairman’s efforts have demonstrated his commitment to those individuals who have been physically harmed from asbestos exposure are fairly and adequately compensated.”

“Throughout the debate, NAMIC has consistently asserted the need for asbestos reform legislation that provides certainty and finality at an affordable cost,” said Winston. “Unfortunately, the bill as reported
out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today fails to address all of
NAMIC’s concerns; for example, providing for the exclusive remedy of all asbestos claims.”

“While improvements to the original bill have been made which are
necessary, they are not sufficient. NAMIC looks forward to working with the Senate to ensure that this legislation meets all of our objectives while still protecting the interests of the innocent victims,” said Winston.

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