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September 8, 2011

Louisiana Small Business Owner Can’t Create New Jobs Because of Abusive Asbestos Lawsuits

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mike Carter, president of Monroe Rubber & Gasket Co., a small family business based in Monroe, testified today before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution at a hearing entitled, “How Fraud and Abuse in the Asbestos Compensation System Affect Victims, Jobs, the Economy, and the Legal System.”


Coming on the heels of President Obama’s address to the nation about the need to create more jobs, Carter highlighted one barrier to job creation: the broken asbestos litigation system.


“I can’t bring new staff on…until I’m certain that my company’s future is secure,” Carter stated.  “We’re currently facing hundreds of asbestos claims, and asbestos litigation may force us to close our doors.”  Carter testified that Monroe Rubber & Gasket never manufactured any kind of asbestos product, yet since most manufacturers of asbestos have gone bankrupt, plaintiffs’ lawyers are casting a wider net, targeting solvent companies like his in the hope of finding plaintiff-friendly court systems to extort settlements from business.


Carter and his company were featured on ILR’s Faces of Lawsuit Abuse website, which raises public awareness about the consequences of frivolous and unfair litigation.  Unfortunately, the plight of Monroe Rubber & Gasket Co. is not unique.  There is a long history of fraud and abuse in asbestos litigation, which has led to the bankruptcies of nearly one hundred companies employing tens of thousands of workers. 


“Louisiana, with lower unemployment than the national average, has worked hard to adopt an environment conducive to business investment and job growth,” said Lisa Rickard, President of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.  “The last thing Louisiana needs during this uncertain time is an unchecked, abusive litigation environment that smothers economic growth.”


Despite the fact that the use of asbestos has declined rapidly since the 1970s, asbestos lawsuits are on the rise.  Earlier this year, three of America’s largest insurance companies announced increases in asbestos claims against companies they insure.  This year also featured a number of record-setting asbestos verdicts, and plaintiffs’ lawyers have flooded the airwaves and Internet with an unprecedented volume of asbestos-related advertising. 


To read Mike Carter’s full testimony, click here

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