Last week, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill to deter “over-naming” in asbestos lawsuits by requiring plaintiffs to offer evidence for each claim they file and provide supporting documentation.
“Over-naming” happens when plaintiffs’ lawyers name a myriad of companies as defendants in an asbestos-related lawsuit, only to ultimately dismiss the claims against many companies with no liability after months or years of litigation. This practice drives up litigation costs, contributes to corporate bankruptcies, and slows the resolution of cases, delaying recoveries for actual victims.
According to a report in Chamber Business News, “over-naming” currently leads to a dismissal rate of more than 90% during the case’s discovery period.
The new law, sponsored by State Sen. Vince Leach, requires the location and dates of exposure, the name of the manufacturer or seller of the product, the alleged harm, and any supporting documents to be filed within 45 days of an asbestos lawsuit.
ILR testified in support of the bill before the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee, providing a real-world example of the consequences of unchecked “over-naming.” A steel company filed for bankruptcy after being named in more than 180,000 asbestos lawsuits, even though their product was never found to be harmful. The cost of defending against so many lawsuits forced the company to close, costing jobs and investment into its local economy.
Thanks to the leadership of Arizona lawmakers and the state Chamber, that unfortunate story won’t happen again in the Grand Canyon state. The new law will help prevent businesses from facing excessive asbestos-related lawsuits and ensure real victims can resolve their cases quickly and efficiently.