Sara Warner, publisher of the non-profit California Courts Monitor writes that, in the wake of the current Veterans Administration scandal, Congress should help veterans by advancing the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act.
“The (asbestos) trust funds have been private, administered largely by victims’ attorneys,” writes Warner in CityWatch. “That is rapidly changing, with transparency laws already passed in three states (Wisconsin, Ohio, and Oklahoma) and proposed in North Carolina. The idea is to prevent lawyers filing one set of ‘facts’ with trust A, then another set with trust B, and alleging yet another story at trial.”
“It’s not just states,” adds Warner. “The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act, or FACT Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year.”
Warner argues that the VA scandal should provide extra impetus for bipartisan support of the FACT Act.
“Even before the current VA scandal, I was among those pleading for bipartisan engagement in the wake of Garlock and state FACT movements,” notes Warner. “But when U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) introduced S. 2319, the Senate version, contending that the ‘FACT Act would ensure that asbestos bankruptcy settlement trusts are able to fully compensate future claimants by preventing fraud,’ I was disappointed to see that it only had GOP cosponsors.”
“The GOP will not let this serious crisis go to waste,” concludes Warner. “And Democrats should embrace the chance to do the right thing for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”