Over the past forty years, asbestos-related litigation has forced over 100 companies into bankruptcy – devastating workers, retirees, shareholders and affected communities. Some estimates project the total cost of asbestos litigation (including future claims) at more than $260 billion. Unfortunately, asbestos litigation has long been plagued by fraud and abuse. Reform is needed to protect job-creating businesses from lawsuit abuse and to ensure that legitimate victims receive the compensation they deserve. read more...

Significant litigation over asbestos-related ailments began in the 1970s and has continued unabated ever since. Indeed, asbestos litigation has developed into a billion-dollar enterprise for plaintiffs’ lawyers – as evidenced by the endless TV and online advertising targeted at potential plaintiffs. 

While asbestos lawsuits originally focused on companies that mined asbestos or manufactured asbestos-based insulation products, the collapse of these early asbestos defendants forced plaintiffs’ attorneys to begin targeting new companies, including many that had little, if anything, to do with the manufacture or supply of asbestos products. Many of these lawsuits are filed in plaintiff-friendly “magnet” jurisdictions such as Madison County, Illinois – even if neither the plaintiff nor the defendant has any real connection to the jurisdiction.

The bankruptcies of major asbestos companies also gave rise to trust funds intended to compensate future asbestos victims. Today, these trusts control assets with an estimated value of more than $30 billion. But the existence of the asbestos trusts has not slowed the wave of lawsuits against American businesses. In fact, one prominent plaintiffs' lawyer described asbestos litigation as an "endless search for a solvent bystander."

The asbestos trusts operate in parallel with the traditional tort system and offer only rudimentary reports on the claims they receive and pay. As a result, plaintiffs’ attorneys are sometimes able to hide the fact that a single individual is making multiple claims, citing different and contradictory exposure facts, against multiple trusts and solvent companies. This “double dipping” exposes innocent businesses to abusive lawsuits and deprives the trusts of funds intended for legitimate victims.


Federal and state legislation is needed to discourage questionable claims against asbestos trusts, protect businesses from abusive lawsuits and ensure that asbestos trusts are able to compensate legitimate victims.

The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act, H.R. 1927 and S. 357, is federal legislation that would require asbestos personal injury settlement trusts to disclose information on their claims on a quarterly basis. This would allow trusts and businesses to identify and contest questionable claims.

In addition, several states have proposed legislation or changes to court rules that would mandate greater transparency for trust claims. In 2012, Ohio became the first state in the nation to enact a law that requires plaintiffs to file and disclose trust claims before proceeding to trial. Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have enacted similar laws.


The ILR Research Review - Fall 2016

September 22, 2016 | This edition of the ILR Research Review offers valuable insights from ILR's latest research on over-criminalization and the challenges of business compliance, over-enforcement, third-party litigation funding in the UK, and asbestos trust claims.

Insights & Inconsistencies: Lessons from the Garlock Trust Claims

February 19, 2016 | This report analyzes asbestos bankruptcy trust claims forms from the recent Garlock bankruptcy to address patterns of inconsistent and fraudulent claiming from one trust to another.

All Results for Asbestos

In the News Today - October 24, 2016

October 24, 2016 | News and Blog

Fair Courts Now, a campaign committee created to oppose Republican candidates for the Fifth District Appellate Court, spent $500,000 for broadcast and digital media spots. Read More »

The ILR Research Review - Fall 2016

September 22, 2016 | Research

This edition of the ILR Research Review offers valuable insights from ILR's latest research on over-criminalization and the challenges of business compliance, over-enforcement, third-party litigation funding in the UK, and asbestos trust claims. Read More »

WATCH: Deterring Fraud in the Longest Running Mass Tort in History

September 20, 2016 | News and Blog

40 years of asbestos lawsuits have bankrupted almost 100 companies, costing tens of thousands of jobs. It's the longest running mass tort in history. Read More »

In the News Today -- August 3, 2016

August 03, 2016 | News and Blog

North Charleston, SC-based Deaton law firm was second among a list of firms for the average number of defendants in an asbestos suit, according to a report by KCIC and Bates White. Read More »

In the News Today -- August 2, 2016

August 02, 2016 | News and Blog

Since 2013, a Madison County, IL associate judge's annual statements of economic interest at the Illinois Supreme Court have disclosed "litigation relationships" with a number of asbestos plaintiffs' firms. Read More »

Rep. Trott's Bill Would Increase Oversight of Billion-Dollar Asbestos Trusts

Author: Harold Kim, Executive Vice President U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform | July 06, 2016 | News and Blog

Last week, Congressman Dave Trott (R-MI, 11th District) introduced legislation that would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct oversight of asbestos bankruptcy trust funds that currently hold over $18 billion in assets. Read More »

Madison County #1 in Asbestos Filings, Again

June 30, 2016 | News and Blog

Madison County, Illinois remains the top jurisdiction in the country for asbestos cases by a wide margin, according to data presented at a recent asbestos litigation conference. Filings from 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 show Madison County with 1,351 asbestos cases. The second busiest jurisdiction, Baltimore City, Maryland, saw 45 percent fewer cases than Madison County. Read More »

Analysis: Top Asbestos Plaintiffs Firms Name As Many as 300 Defendants Per Suit

June 28, 2016 | News and Blog

A new analysis of data compiled by KCIC and Bates White found that the average number of defendants in lawsuits filed by a single Charleston, West Virginia law firm - The Segal Firm - surpassed 280, reports Legal Newsline/Forbes. Read More »

In the News Today - June 8, 2016

June 08, 2016 | News and Blog

The Illinois Supreme Court has ordered the Fifth District Appellate Court to hear Ford Motor Company's appeal on a motion to dismiss a Madison County, IL asbestos case - Jeffs v Anco Insulations, Inc. - for "lack of personal jurisdiction." Read More »

ILR State Allies Blog Series: Illinois Civil Justice League

June 03, 2016 | News and Blog

Fighting the good fight to help fix Illinois' abusive lawsuit climate is the Illinois Civil Justice League, which has been a valued partner in the legal reform effort for more than 20 years. Read More »

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