Forbes’ Dan Fisher writes that, “the wall of secrecy plaintiff attorneys have erected around asbestos claims has begun to crumble” as a judge in North Carolina granted Ford Motor Company’s request to, “see forms filed in a prominent bankruptcy case as a way to ferret out suspected fraud and double-dipping.”
This very secrecy is the reason the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform has so strongly supported the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act, H.R. 982 — bipartisan federal legislation that would require asbestos personal injury settlement trusts to disclose information on their claims on a quarterly basis. (View ILR’s Asbestos resource page to learn more about these efforts).
That legislation passed the House last year, and similar legislation has passed or is pending in several states.
The North Carolina order, writes Fisher, “represents a breakthrough for solvent companies that complain they are the victims of a one-two strategy where plaintiff lawyers craft lawsuits accusing them of causing their clients’ asbestos disease, then make completely different claims to trusts set up by companies that were driven into bankruptcy over asbestos liability.”