Asbestos

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.
 

Reforms

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.

Research

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.

Laboratories of Tort Law: A Three-Year Review of Key State Supreme Court Decisions

December 04, 2014 | This report highlights significant tort law decisions over the past three years that are examples of particularly sound or unsound rulings. Each analysis examines the tort law principles involved, whether the court followed or deviated from these principles, and the court's reasoning in reaching its decision.

All Results for Asbestos

In the News Today - September 1, 2015

September 01, 2015 | Insights

The New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) case management order is 27 years old, and some defendants have sought a stay on existing cases until the CMO is revised. Last week, NYCAL Judge Peter Moulton rejected the requested stay, but did grant a motion to negotiate a modification of the CMO, saying that a "complete re-examination of the CMO" is warranted. (Legal Newsline) Read More »

Tags: Asbestos, California, New York

Asbestos Litigation Drives Defunct Illinois Boilermaker into Bankruptcy for Second Time in 30 Years

August 19, 2015 | Insights

Asbestos lawsuits have driven an Illinois boiler manufacturer into bankruptcy for the second time in less than 30 years, reports Legal Newsline. Read More »

Tags: Class Actions, Asbestos, Illinois

In the News Today - August 18, 2015

August 18, 2015 | Insights

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly has extracted a $180 million settlement from Citigroup related to hedge fund accusations. (Wall Street Journal) Read More »

Tags: Class Actions, Asbestos, New York

In the News Today - August 14, 2015

August 14, 2015 | Insights

Garlock Sealing Technologies hopes a Kentucky appellate court reinstates its lawsuit against a Louisville plaintiffs' firm who represented a plaintiff in a $700,000 asbestos case. Garlock alleges the plaintiffs' attorneys "waited until they had secured the verdict to begin submitting claims of bankruptcy trusts designed to compensate asbestos victims." (Legal Newsline) Read More »

Tags: Asbestos, Class Actions, Kentucky

Asbestos Cases Have Overstayed Their Welcome in Madison County

August 13, 2015 | Insights

Benjamin Franklin once said that guests and fish begin to smell after three days. Well the Madison County Courts must be gracious hosts, as on the asbestos docket for trial earlier this week were 272 cases filed by plaintiffs from out-of-town. And these types of cases aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Read More »

Tags: Asbestos, Class Actions, Illinois

Plaintiffs' Bar Marketing Fuels America's Top 10 Search Engine Keywords

August 07, 2015 | Insights

An analysis of cost-per-click (CPC) search engine keywords shows that the Top 10 most expensive keywords during the first half of 2015 were all related to "medical issues, lawsuits or insurance settlements." Read More »

Tags: Asbestos, Class Actions

Madison County, IL Court to Hear 300 Asbestos Cases on a Single Day Next Week

August 06, 2015 | Insights

More than 300 asbestos cases are set for trial next Monday alone in Madison County, IL. Read More »

Tags: Asbestos, Class Actions, Illinois

In the News Today - July 17, 2015

July 17, 2015 | Insights

"The harm from vague and ambiguous TCPA rules is not merely felt by current consumers and current businesses, but by innovative companies, both in business today and those that may never develop as a result of TCPA," writes Harold Furchtgott-Roth, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. (Forbes) Read More »

Tags: Asbestos, Class Actions, Telephone Consumer Protection Act , Maryland

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