FACT Act now before U.S. Senate – Please speak out to oppose this legislation!

23 May 2014 by under Legal, News, Organizations

senatelogo 100x100 FACT Act now before U.S. Senate   Please speak out to oppose this legislation!In November 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that asbestos victims and their supporters say will provide protection for asbestos manufacturers, while preventing asbestos victims from obtaining justice while in fact violating their rights to privacy. Now that legislation is before the U.S. Senate. Please act now to speak out in opposition of the so-called Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act.

Introduced by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), S. 2319 is the Senate companion piece to H.R. 982, which passed the House last year. Supporters of the bill claim it will increase transparency in the administration of asbestos trusts, which were established to compensate the victims of asbestos exposure.

Exposure to asbestos – even in tiny amounts – is linked to the development of serious asbestos diseases, such as asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs; and , a deadly cancer. Mesothelioma most often affects the lining of the lungs or abdomen, and there is no known cure. Medical experts say there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, because microscopic particles can be inhaled or ingested and imbed themselves in the body.

The trusts were established by Congressional legislation in 1994 especially for the asbestos industry, allowing them to set up trusts to compensate asbestos victims for the injuries they sustained as a result of exposure to their products. The logic behind this move was to allow companies to reorganize under bankruptcy laws while still providing a fund for victims.

The FACT Act would require the trusts to publicly disclose private claimant information, and allow the asbestos companies to demand additional information from the trust at any time for any reason rather than following acceptable rules for discovery.

On its website, the (ADAO), the nation’s leading non-profit that crusades against the asbestos industry, lists five important consequences of the FACT Act that are harmful to asbestos victims. In addition to creating new barriers and delays for victims to receive compensation and justice, the bill would make astounding intrusions into victims’ privacy rights.

The ADAO notes the FACT Act would reveal the last four digits of asbestos victims’ Social Security numbers on a public website; reveal victims’ financial information; and publicly list the name and exposure history of a claimant and the basis for any payment from the trust made to such a claimant, which would expose asbestos victims and their families for possible blacklisting and discrimination.

ADAO, along with a number of other agencies and organizations interested in the rights of asbestos victims and the access to civil justice, urge you to act now. Contact your Senator and ask him or her to oppose S. 2319. Follow this link to find your Senators. They are listed alphabetically or you can enter your ZIP code if you are not sure who your senator is. Time is critical. Please do it today!

Source: ADAO

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