West Virginia Latest State to Curb Asbestos Lawsuit Abuse
Anyone who watches late night TV knows that asbestos lawsuits are still abound even though the substance was largely dropped from use in the 1970’s. That’s because the diseases associated with repeated asbestos exposure can take many decades to manifest themselves.
Now that thousands of lawsuits have been brought and over 100 companies have gone into bankruptcy from litigation, there are fewer resources to compensate victims of asbestos exposure. Now more than ever, it is important to fight fraud in asbestos litigation in order to preserve resources for those only just discovering asbestos-induced illnesses.
ALEC developed the Asbestos Claims Trust Transparency Act to root out fraud in the complex system that governs asbestos litigation and asbestos bankruptcy trust payments. ALEC developed this model in response to a growing trend of crafty attorneys picking and choosing evidence to share in a lawsuit and too frequently hiding exposure to another company’s product and subsequent compensation from their asbestos bankruptcy trust.
Most recently, Garlock Sealing Solutions has discovered rampant abuse in litigation against them. In one particular case, a significant portion of the $24 million awarded against them for a plaintiff’s asbestos exposure may in fact be unwarranted. The plaintiff had years of exposure to other asbestos products and never mentioned that important detail in litigation despite seeking compensation separately for the same injuries. In fact, the lead attorney went so far as to deny that his client had any exposure to the other products despite later filing trust claims alleging exposure to those same products. The ALEC model ensures that the entire picture is presented at court so verdicts are fair, complete and awarded against the responsible party.
West Virginia has become the most recent state to pass this key reform and root out fraudulent omissions, with Governor Tomblin recently signing SB 411.
For more information on this reform, check out the overview of the ALEC Asbestos Claims Trust Transparency Act in Lawsuit Reform for Competitive State Economies.
Keep up-to-date on the Garlock lawsuits and other new instances of fraud in asbestos litigation in a new project of the American Tort Reform Association at AsbestosLitigationWatch.com.