FACT Act’ Would Put Mesothelioma Victims at Disadvantage

by Sokolove Law

A bill that will be considered by lawmakers and could drastically alter the ability for mesothelioma and asbestos victims to get the justice they deserve is the subject of significant opposition from a number of asbestos awareness groups.

H.R. 4369, or the “Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act of 2012,” was authored by Rep. Benjamin Quayle (R-AZ) with the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It proposes to “require the public disclosure by trusts established under section 524(g) of such title, of quarterly reports that contain detailed information regarding the receipt and disposition of claims for injuries based on exposure to asbestos, and the filing of such reports with the Executive Office for United States Trustees” if passed.

In other words, the act would create additional roadblocks for companies who have set up asbestos trusts, forcing mesothelioma victims to submit even more information than is currently required, potentially overriding the claims process that is currently in place, and prolonging a process in which victims do not have much time left before passing away from their deadly illnesses.

In the wake of its introduction, the heads of many groups that support asbestos victims have been vocal in their opposition to the bill, saying it benefits the companies that are at fault for causing illnesses of so many while undermining the rights of those who are sick.

“On behalf of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), we are strongly opposed to the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2012 (H.R. 4369), which creates another burden for patients and families to overcome during an extremely difficult time,” said Linda Reinstein, the co-founder, president and CEO of ADAO. “Delayed or denied compensation would gravely impact patients’ pursuit of medical care and justice. As a mesothelioma widow, I am disappointed when Congressional legislative efforts continue to focus on litigation instead of education.”

“The only thing transparent about this bill is the blatant support for the industry’s decades’ long effort to run out the clock on a victim’s ability to collect a claim before he or she dies,” added Heather White, the chief of staff and general counsel for the Environmental Working Group.

Linda Lipsen, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for Justice, added in a recently released letter to members that the act is part of the Chamber of Commerce’s “campaign to absolve the asbestos industry of accountability”

“This bill has nothing to do with transparency and everything to do with delaying justice and avoiding accountability. She added, “Time spent on this bill is a waste of Congressional (and taxpayer) resources, and the ultimate insult to families whose loved ones have died or are dying from asbestos-related diseases.”

Despite the opposition, the FACT act has been referred and reported by committee and was sent to the House of Representatives and Senate as a whole for consideration on June 8.

Read more about the bill here. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and requires legal help, call Sokolove Law for a free legal consultation regarding a mesothelioma lawsuit today.

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