Missouri may pass asbestos claims transparency bill

24 Apr 2017 by under News

480px Seal of Missouri 100x100 Missouri may pass asbestos claims transparency bill Nearly a quarter of states have claims transparency laws on the books, and Missouri is poised to raise the number to 13, according to the St. Louis Record. Even if the bill making its way through the General Assembly does not pass this session, it is expected to be reintroduced during the next one.

If the bill does pass, Missouri would join the ranks of Ohio, , Tennessee, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona and Utah in passing legislation requiring plaintiffs in asbestos-related lawsuits to fully disclose the claims they filed with asbestos trusts. The trust system was created when about 100 companies that were frequently named defendants in asbestos lawsuits filed bankruptcy to create trusts to compensate victims without having to go through the civil courts, as MyMeso previously reported.

Proponents of the bill contend it will cut down on “double-dipping,” plaintiffs filing claims with asbestos trusts and then filing civil suits for the same claims. In Missouri, the House bill is sponsored by Rep. Bruce DeGroot, who told the St. Louis Record he fully expects the state’s governor to sign the bill if it makes it to his desk. “It’s a matter of fairness,” DeGroot said.

However, opponents of asbestos claims transparency laws call it another attempt to protect big business and delay compensation to those facing a completely preventable asbestos-related disease. When the federal government’s version of the bill, the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act, was proposed last year, MyMeso reported an opposition letter stating, “(The bill) would give companies an unfair advantage over asbestos victims seeking justice for their injuries — speciously touted as a ‘transparency bill,’ the measure actually is designed to help the asbestos industry avoid paying victims through delay tactics and waste of scarce trust resources set aside for victims.”

 

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