May 4, 2017

U.S. Chamber Report: Ohio Law to Curb “Double Dip” Asbestos Claims Ensures Fairness Without Burdening Plaintiffs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new report released today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) highlights how Ohio’s asbestos trust transparency law has been effective at discouraging fraud and abuse without compromising the interests of plaintiffs. Ohio enacted its law in 2013 to prevent plaintiffs’ lawyers from gaming the asbestos litigation system by making inconsistent claims in asbestos lawsuits and before asbestos bankruptcy trusts.

The new report, Watching it Work: The Impact of Ohio’s Asbestos Trust Transparency Laws on Tort Litigation in the State, outlines that despite opponents’ concerns, the law has not delayed the resolution of asbestos cases. 

“A growing national chorus of states and Congress are working to discourage ‘double dip’ asbestos claims against bankruptcy trusts and in the tort system to preserve resources for future claimants,” said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard. “As Ohio’s record bears out, fairness and transparency do not prevent legitimate victims from achieving justice.”

Ohio was the first state to enact an asbestos trust transparency law. Since then, 11 other states have enacted similar laws. This year alone, Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota have enacted asbestos trust transparency laws.

Watching it Work examines asbestos cases in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in the years before and after enactment of Ohio’s law, and finds no systemic evidence that the new law has caused delays in asbestos cases. Moreover, the report cites plaintiffs’ lawyers’ trial strategies – such as adding defendants to a case and then filing new court documents – as the most significant causes of delay in cases. 

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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