The Spectacle Blog

Asbestos Bill Slain

By on 2.15.06 | 11:22AM

By a filibuster, at least for now. I understand the temptation to take these settlements out of the hands of the trial lawyers, but the asbestos bill would have been more surrender than victory. As detailed by Human Events last week, it would have removed asbestos claims from the courts into a no-fault administrative process. Private companies would then "contribute" (involuntarily) to the trust fund.

The Heritage Foundation has found many flaws with the bill: claimants would show asbestos exposure "merely by filing an affidavit saying that they have been exposed'; the trust fund would award settlements to patients whose types of cancer "have not been clearly shown to be related to asbestos exposure"; and claims are automatically paid to claimants if they are not decided within 180 days. With such loose controls, $140 billion may not be enough to fund this trust fund.

These suits belong in the courts, not at the hands of a new bureaucracy. If trial lawyers are the problem, then we need tort reform, not a shift in jurisdiction.

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