Asbestos transparency bill approved by House Committee
FEBRUARY 19, 2020 - A bill supported by Associated Industries of Missouri that would attempt to speed benefits to mesothelioma victims and other victims of asbestos exposure has cleared a House committee.
The bill would require victims of asbestos related diseases to file claims with asbestos trust funds, set up by bankrupt producers of asbestos, prior to proceeding with a lawsuit against another defendant. The trust fund claims are paid very quickly and the new process would allow victims compensation much sooner than if the lawsuit proceeded first, which is the case today. The judge and/or jury in the lawsuit would be told about the existence of such a claim, allowing it to be considered as they determine liability and any damages.
Plaintiffs' attorneys testified against the bill. AIM supported it, along with the Missouri Insurance Coalition and numerous other groups.
The bill will now move to a rules committee, then to the full House for consideration. A Senate companion bill, SB 575, sponsored by Sen. Bill Eigel, was briefly debated last week and laid over for further discussion at a later date.