New Asbestos Law Will Re-victimize Asbestos Victims

Image:TakeJusticeBack.com

Image:TakeJusticeBack.com

H.R. 982, the so-called “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013,” was passed earlier last wast week.  Essentially, this “transparency” will threaten the privacy of asbestos victims. “What this bill does is allow asbestos victims to be re-victimized by exposing their health information to the public,” Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) said during hearings Tuesday.

The result will be to slow down asbestos cases  even more, by allowing asbestos defendants to bury the trusts with information requests, regardless of the irrelevance or lack of need of such requests.

This legislation is part of the latest tactic implemented by ALEC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to let the asbestos industry off the hook. This strategy takes a three-pronged approach:
  • State legislation: In 2007, ALEC adopted the “Asbestos Claims Transparency Act.” Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have seen versions of this legislation.
  • Judicial Conference: On November 22, 2010, the U.S. Chamber made a direct appeal to the Judicial Conference to change the rules governing bankruptcy law.
  • Federal legislation: In the 112th Congress, H.R. 4369 was introduced in the House on April 17, 2012 and S.3076 was introduced in the Senate on May 10, 2012. In the 113th Congress, H.R. 982 was reintroduced on March 6, 2013.

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