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Asbestos transparency bill approved by House

The Missouri house has voted to give approval to a bill that would modify statute in regard to tort actions in asbestos cases.

HB 1645 or the “Asbestos Bankruptcy Transparency Act,” would fix issues related to damages in asbestos damages cases. The bill is similar to a bill filed in 2017, with some slight changes.

The bill would prevent a plaintiff from filing an asbestos claim against a solvent defendant while not filing or disclosing claims against defendants who are deemed insolvent and working with bankruptcy trusts.

HB 1645 prevents a “double recovery” or “double dipping” of compensation, while ensuring that compensation is fair while allowing the trusts to remain solvent for a longer period of time.

“Associated Industries of Missouri supports the asbestos transparency bill, a common sense measure that simply says that a person with a claim against one of many asbestos trust funds must file the claim against that fund or funds before bringing a lawsuit against a currently operating business,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “These trust funds were set up by the makers of asbestos as they went out of business for the purpose of providing compensation to victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Creative attorneys are currently filing claims against ongoing businesses first, leading the judge and/or jury in that case to believe that is the only compensation the victim will receive. Then, after they settle that case, they file a claim against one or more trusts. This allows them to double dip. This legislation simply requires them to make the claim against any trusts first, then proceed with their case against any ongoing business. Plaintiffs’ attorneys aren’t looking for fairness – they want the biggest payday possible and they like the current double-dipping scheme that victimizes ongoing businesses,” said McCarty.

The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

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