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May 13, 2014

U.S. Chamber Commends Senate Introduction of 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 the introduction of the “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2014” (S. 2319) yesterday in the U.S. Senate. The legislation would require asbestos personal injury settlement trusts, which currently operate with little oversight and transparency, to report on their claims.

“We applaud Senator Flake’s effort to shed light on the growing number of bankruptcy trusts that play a significant role in today’s asbestos compensation system. Fraud and abuse in the system drain the funds available to deserving claimants and force 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.

“The Senate should act to ensure that the asbestos compensation system is working as intended — especially in light of a federal court opinion last January in the Garlock asbestos bankruptcy that revealed manipulation and withholding evidence are a ‘regular practice by many plaintiffs’ firms.’ The FACT Act’s simple disclosure requirement will deter such fraud 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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