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February 4, 2015

U.S. Chamber Commends House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Asbestos Trust Transparency Legislation

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

“We applaud Representatives Blake Farenthold and Tom Marino for introducing this legislation, and the House Judiciary Committee for holding today’s hearing. Abuse of the asbestos compensation system is a national problem, and the 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 and employees, to pay more than their fair share when claimants ‘double dip’ in court and in the trust systems. The FACT Act would diminish the damaging economic ripple effect of these abuses, without impacting legitimate asbestos claims.”

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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