AAJ Response to House Judiciary Committee Approval of H.R. 4369
Washington, DC—The following is a statement from American Association for Justice (AAJ) President Gary M. Paul in response to the House Judiciary Committee approving H.R. 4369, the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2012:
“This bill is a one-sided attempt to hurt asbestos victims by allowing the asbestos industry to delay and deny accountability so victims die before they are able to receive justice.
“Congress should focus on keeping Americans safe from asbestos exposure and not protecting the corporations that knowingly exposed workers and consumers for decades.”
H.R. 4369 would require private asbestos bankruptcy trusts to publicly release extensive individual information about asbestos victims and would slow down asbestos cases by allowing asbestos defendants to bury the trusts in information requests, no matter how unnecessary or irrelevant.
- Asbestos diseases kill nearly 10,000 people every year. The asbestos industry knew of the dangers associated with exposure as early as the 1930’s. Asbestos is still legal in the U.S.
- Most victims of asbestos diseases die within one or two years after diagnosis.
- Many victims of asbestos diseases were exposed to asbestos fibers from different products made by dozens of corporations.
- The asbestos bankruptcy trust process allows companies that profited from asbestos to shift to a trust all liability for present and future asbestos claims.
- A 2011 GAO report confirmed there are no transparency issues with asbestos bankruptcy trusts and the trusts already have measures in place to prevent fraud.