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Senate Must Reject House-Passed Bill Targeting Consumers, Asbestos Victims

"Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act" a Corporate Giveaway

January 08,2016

Washington, DCThe following is a statement from American Association for Justice (AAJ) CEO Linda Lipsen in response to the U.S. House of Representatives passing H.R. 1927, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act:

“If I said Congress was considering a bill to shield Volkswagen from being held accountable for the fraud on its customers, and then combined it with a bill to protect companies that knowingly poisoned people with asbestos, no one would believe me. But that’s exactly what the House just passed. This is a bill that only helps corporations that killed and cheated people, plain and simple.

It’s offensive that with veterans and workers dying from asbestos exposures that Congress would act to delay or deny their compensation at the behest of the companies responsible for their deaths. The Senate should recognize this absurd bill for what it is – nothing more than a corporate giveaway – and reject it.”

Background on H.R. 1927

The three-page bill contains two troubling sections:

The Fairness in Class Action Litigation section would largely end the ability of consumers and workers to band together as a class to take a company that has cheated them to court, which is often the only way to hold a company accountable if it has caused widespread harm to thousands or millions of consumers. The bill would require consumers and workers to prove they have all suffered the same exact type and “scope” of injury before a judge can let a case go forward; this is an impossible standard to meet.

The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency section would forfeit the privacy of individuals suffering from asbestos disease and their families. The bill would put the private information of asbestos victims – including their names and asbestos exposure histories – into a publicly accessible database, making them vulnerable to identity theft and online predators. The bill re-victimizes families impacted by asbestos disease while doing nothing to protect Americans from future asbestos exposures.

Ben Somberg
Phone: 202-965-6645