Wisconsin lawmakers have passed a bill that promises to hold up asbestos lawsuits and delay much needed compensation to victims.
Assembly Bill 19 would force asbestos plaintiffs to disclose any claim filed with the asbestos bankruptcy trusts before pursuing the same claim at trial with a solvent business. As reported in the Insurance Journal, Republican supporters of the bill say that it would prevent attorneys from hiding multiple asbestos claims in order to maximize compensation for victims of asbestos exposure.
The Wisconsin Assembly passed the bill on a 58-39 vote, and it now heads to the state senate.
Rep. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) says his proposal is meant to bring transparency to asbestos claims by requiring plaintiffs to reveal how many businesses their attorneys plan to sue. He claims that his bill would help judges and jurors to assign damages more fairly by showing how many defendants might be at fault in any one case.
Opponents of the proposed bill argue that the measure is designed to slow asbestos lawsuits with the hope that plaintiffs will die of mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other diseases caused by asbestos exposure and thus protect corporations from having to pay, according to the Insurance Journal.
This bill is just the latest in a wave of legislation around the nation that favors corporations over the victims of asbestos exposure.
The asbestos industry hid the risks of this toxic substance from workers and the public for decades while making massive profits, a fact proven by internal company memos that came to light thanks to the investigative work of asbestos attorneys.
Asbestos is a major cause for public concern in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that between 1999-2005, a total of 18,068 people died from malignant mesothelioma.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options, contact Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.