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May 14, 2015

U.S. Chamber Applauds House Judiciary Committee Passage of Asbestos Trust Transparency Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), made the following statement today applauding the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s passage of the “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2015” (H.R. 526). The legislation would require asbestos personal injury settlement trusts, which currently operate with little oversight and transparency, to report on their claims.

“Abuse of the asbestos compensation system is a national problem, and the former-Assembly Speaker’s recent indictment in New York with allegations of kickbacks and self-dealing is just the latest example. Evidence of plaintiffs’ lawyers manipulating and withholding key information continues to unfold in the Garlock bankruptcy case, which stands out as ‘exhibit A’ of the systemic fraud in asbestos litigation.

“Exploitation of the system drains the funds available to deserving claimants and forces solvent companies, as well as their shareholders, to pay more than their fair share when plaintiffs’ lawyers file ‘double dip’ claims in court and in the trust systems. The FACT Act would diminish the damaging economic ripple effect of these abuses, while preserving assets for future asbestos claimants.

“We commend the House Judiciary Committee for passing this important legislation, and urge both the House and Senate to swiftly follow suit.”

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.

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