Council Says Asbestos Reform Critical in Halting Fraudulent Lawsuits

January 19, 2006

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) on Thursday encouraged Congress to pass S. 852, the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act (FAIR Act). The legislation establishes a trust fund to reimburse true victims of asbestos exposure while limiting the actions of trial lawyers.

“The asbestos situation is a debacle viewed by trial lawyers a never ending revenue stream,” CCAGW President Tom Schatz said. “Millions of dollars are annually wasted on fraudulent suits, causing job loss and burdening taxpayers.”

More than 730,000 individuals have brought forward legal claims related to asbestos, with an estimated 300,000 claims currently pending. Studies have reportedly found that up to 90 percent of these claims were by people who have not suffered any physical impairment. The trust fund established by the FAIR Act would be funded by corporations and their insurers; no taxpayer or government funds would be involved.

The legal tactics employed by trial lawyers reportedly not only damage the legal system and those being sued; true victims of asbestos exposure are also suffering because of them.

Because the court system is overwhelmed by asbestos lawsuits, some victims are reportedly dying of their asbestos-related health problems before they are compensated. When victims do receive compensation, their lawyers may reportedly take up to half of their judgment.

“Passage of the FAIR Act is vital both to true victims of asbestos exposure and to the industries entangled in litigation,” Schatz concluded.

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