February 20th, 2017|
A new version of the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act was submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives last week. This is the third iteration of this bill introduced within the last five years – last year’s version was passed by the House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate.
This act would be very harmful to victims of asbestos exposure now seeking compensation for their injuries. The FACT Act would require trusts held specifically for the payment of asbestos injury claims to file detailed quarterly reports of the trusts’ activity. On the surface, the act purports to make sure that the true victims of asbestos-related disease are receiving the money they deserve, but dig a little deeper, and you find out that is not the case at all:
- “Transparency” under the FACT act “would require the unbelievable disclosure on a public website of asbestos victims’ personal information, including the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, financial information, information about their children and other sensitive data that could subject victims and their families to identity theft and possible criminal victimization.”[i]
- Compiling and filing the required mountains of paperwork would add costly administrative burdens to the trusts. The costs of compliance would eventually drain these already underfunded accounts. This additional paperwork would also lead to severe delays to the trusts’ claims review and payment processes. Because of the swift progression of many asbestos-related diseases, these delays would cause many asbestos victims to never receive the compensation they deserve.
At present, the bill has made it out of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and a floor vote is expected within the next few weeks. Numerous individuals and organizations have submitted letters of opposition including The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, The Environmental Working Group, 18 national military and veteran service member organizations, several of the asbestos trusts, and scores of other environmental, labor and consumer organizations.
The attorneys at Cory Watson strongly oppose the FACT Act. We believe it would greatly restrict our ability to fight for the money asbestos victims truly deserve. We have made it our mission to fight for the rights of asbestos and other injury victims, recovering over $2 Billion for our clients. Please give us a call at 877-562-0000 or fill out our online form to arrange for your FREE and CONFIDENTIAL case evaluation.
[i] Van Ness, Judy (7 November 2013). “Fact Act Attacks Asbestos Victims”. The Hill. Retrieved 15 February 2017.