Taxpayer group stresses need for significant reform to Senate Judiciary Committee.
WASHINGTON – Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) President Grover Norquist submitted written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee today calling for commonsense reforms regarding asbestos litigation.
Since 1982, a number of state supreme courts ruled that companies were liable for asbestos-related injuries, regardless of whether the company understood asbestos dangers. As a result of these new court decisions, the number of asbestos lawsuits skyrocketed against companies using asbestos to produce a final good, such as insulation, and companies that merely exposed workers to products containing asbestos, such as automobile brakes and clutches. As such, nearly 94 percent of these cases involve individuals who have not developed any type of cancer or asbestos-related disability.
"The Senate Judiciary Committee needs to follow the U.S. Supreme Court\’s advice and make commonsense reforms to ensure that juries award money to those who are legitimate victims and keep money out of the hands of the trial lawyers," said Norquist. "Only with meaningful reform can legitimate victims receive their just compensation without harming productive companies, working American families and innocent stockholders, which is currently the case."
The recommendations presented by Norquist included: establishing objective medical criteria to determine asbestos-related impairment; liberalizing the statute of limitations to remove the incentive for premature filings; eliminating the consolidation of asbestos-related claims and instead require individual trials that will focus on the facts of each specific case; and requiring lawsuits to be filed in the states where the plaintiff resides or where exposure occurred.