Over the past forty years, asbestos-related litigation has forced nearly 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. 526 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, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have enacted similar laws.


101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems: A User's Guide to Promoting Fair and Effective Civil Justice

September 10, 2015 | 101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems offers some of the many options available to foster a sound legal system. It considers fair and effective measures to improve the litigation process, promote rational liability rules, and rein in excessive awards.

Lawsuit Ecosystem II: New Trends, Targets and Players

December 04, 2014 | This report, authored by a distinguished group of practitioners, explores the evolving lawsuit "ecosystem." It considers how plaintiffs' lawyers generate litigation and significant developments that will spur more lawsuits or rein in excessive liability.

All Results for Asbestos

Sheldon Silver Found Guilty On All Counts

December 01, 2015 | Insights

Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted yesterday of honest-services fraud, extortion, and money laundering "in a trial that is likely to reshape the business of Albany and embolden prosecutors with an appetite for public-corruption cases aimed at the Capitol." Read More »

In the News Today - December 1, 2015

December 01, 2015 | Insights

Silver 'Executed the Agenda" of the Trial Bar: "As we have been saying for years, Sheldon Silver's ‘income' was nothing more than a political payment to ensure he executed the agenda of the trial lawyers who paid him," said Tom Stebbins, executive director, Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (Poughkeepsie Journal) Read More »

Sheldon Silver's Lawyers Ask Judge for Acquittal; Prosecutors Cite Evidence of Fraud

November 20, 2015 | Insights

Attorneys for indicted former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver asked a federal judge to acquit Silver on all counts - before the case even went to the jury - claiming the government did not meet its burden of showing Silver had committed the alleged charges. Read More »

In the News Today - November 19, 2015

November 19, 2015 | Insights

Prosecution Rests its Case in Sheldon Silver Trial: Throughout the trial of the indicted former New York Assembly Speaker, prosecutors "focused on advancing the notion that Mr. Silver systematically masked any involvement he had with asbestos litigation in an effort to obscure one of the alleged schemes: that he was receiving fees from a law firm for referring patients recommended to him by a doctor in exchange for directing state grants to that doctor's field of research." (Wall Street Journal) Read More »

300% ROI: 'Plaintiff Commodities Market' Pays Big Returns for Trial Bar

November 13, 2015 | Insights

Some key plaintiffs' bar players are playing games with the lives of plaintiffs - buying and selling them like commodities to make a financial killing on mass torts. Read More »

In the News Today - November 12, 2015

November 12, 2015 | Insights

Business or Personal? Sheldon Silver's defense attorneys face an uphill battle in proving that the relationship between the indicted former New York Assembly Speaker and Dr. Robert Taub was that of true friendship, rather than a quid pro quo. Taub is accused of referring patients from his cancer center to Silver's law firm in exchange for receiving state grants with the help of Silver. (New York Times) Read More »

Bombshell Testimony from Former Simmons Firm CEO in Sheldon Silver Corruption Trial

November 12, 2015 | Insights

Greg Kirkland, the former CEO of the Illinois-based, mega-asbestos plaintiffs firm Simmons Hanly Conroy, testified in the ongoing corruption trial of indicted former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Read More »

In the News Today - November 10, 2015

November 10, 2015 | Insights

FACT Act 'forces Graham to choose a side': Sen. Lindsey Graham's office says that he "continues to review this legislation" but wouldn't say whether he supports or opposes the FACT Act. According to, the American Association of Justice "contributed $27,500 to his campaign committee and leadership PAC during the period 2011-2016." (Palmetto Business Daily) Read More »

What We Learned from Doc's Testimony in Sheldon Silver Corruption Trial

November 06, 2015 | Insights

Dr. Robert Taub, the cancer research doctor at the center of the corruption trial of indicted former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, testified in federal court yesterday. Read More »

In the News Today - November 5, 2015

November 05, 2015 | Insights

Oil Spill Fraud Defendant Was Also Convicted in Fen-Phen Fraud Case: A sixth defendant in a $2.3 billion Gulf oil spill fraud case in Mississippi was also convicted ten years ago "for providing false names for claims against the manufacturer of the diet drug Fen-Phen." That defendant, Gregory Warren, was arraigned this week on charges related to the ongoing fallout from the indictment of well-known plaintiffs' attorney Mikal Watts. Watts was recently indicted in Mississippi "on 95 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, identity theft and aggravated identity theft," arising out of the oil spill settlement litigation. (Biloxi Sun-Herald) Read More »

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