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Bills allowing enforcement of arbitration agreements and dealing with asbestos claims heard in Commi

Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) supports three bills that are advancing in the current legislative session.

HB 1512 (Corlew) allows enforcement of arbitration agreements between at-will employees and their employer. The bill has cleared the initial House committee and needs approval from a House rules committee before advancing to the House floor. A companion bill, SB 578 (Romine) has been heard in a Senate committee and could advance next week. Both bills would allow the issue of whether an arbitration agreement between the employee and employer is valid to be settled by the mutually-selected arbitrator, in accordance with national standards and procedures for arbitration proceedings.

“These bills allow enforcement of arbitration agreements and will stop plaintiff’s attorneys from invalidating those agreements and moving issues into civil court,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of AIM. “We fully support these bills and are working hard on their passage.”

Another bill, HB 1645 (DeGroot) would allow the fact that a plaintiff bringing an asbestos case against a company is allowed to file a claim against asbestos trusts to be known by the judge and jury in the case. “This will allow the court to consider the fact the person may receive damages from one of these asbestos trusts when deciding the case,” said McCarty. “This should help prevent double-dipping where a plaintiff files a claim against a business, collects a settlement, then proceeds to file a claim against an asbestos trust.”

Asbestos trust funds were set up by asbestos producers as they went out of business and are used to help compensate victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

HB 1645 may advance from committee next week.

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