U.S. Chamber Applauds House Passage of Class Action Litigation and Asbestos Trust Transparency Bill

March 09, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), made the following statement today about the passage of the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2017” (H.R. 985) by the U.S. House of Representatives:

“Class action lawsuits are rife with abuse, as plaintiffs’ lawyers routinely receive a significantly greater share of the reward than all class members combined, while businesses pay extortionate settlements for meritless claims. Furthermore, trial lawyers consistently manipulate the multi-district litigation process. Today, the House has done its job to ensure that class members get paid first and that plaintiffs’ lawyers only earn a percentage of what class members actually receive. Additionally, the House has curbed multi-district litigation abuses.

“Equally concerning, the lack of transparency and accountability in asbestos bankruptcy trusts has led to rampant and systemic abuse that threatens their ability to pay future asbestos claimants. The FACT Act portion of the bill will reduce ‘double dip’ claims against the trusts and in the tort system by requiring the trusts to report quarterly on who files claims. This system will ensure money is held in the trusts for future victims, while protecting individuals’ personal information just the same as the courts do.

“We applaud the House for passing this important legislation, and urge the Senate to do the same without delay to send it to the President’s desk.”

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.