NAMIC Comments on Asbestos Litigation Legislation

May 28, 2003

Late last week, Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, introduced legislation to reform asbestos litigation. The “Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (‘FAIR’) Act of 2003” (S. 1125) is intended to create a fairer and more efficient system for resolving the asbestos claims of victims.

“NAMIC is pleased that Senator Hatch has introduced legislation to reform the nation’s asbestos liability system,” said NAMIC vice president of Federal Affairs, Monte Ward. “NAMIC fully supports efforts to establish standard medical criteria and prioritize compensation for asbestos victims. The current asbestos system is targeting and punishing those companies with only peripheral or no involvement with asbestos-containing materials, and it allows some individuals to sue and obtain compensation when they are not truly injured.”

“If any trust fund is established, it is important that the new asbestos trust fund be fair, provide for appropriate funding levels, and only require allocations from those companies with true asbestos liability,” continued Ward. We look forward to working with Chairman Hatch and other Members of Congress on this important issue.”

The FAIR Act would establish a new asbestos court, an asbestos trust fund, and an Asbestos Commission to identify and determine the liability of participating insurers.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Hatch, is expected to hold a full committee hearing on the asbestos issue on June 4.

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