Company Seeks Asbestos Liability Limit in Idaho

A bottle-cap maker weary of paying $700 million in asbestos claims has teamed with a conservative group in a state-by-state trudge to shield itself from forking over even more cash to victims. The lastest battle is unfolding in Idaho.

Pennsylvania-based Crown Holdings has gotten help from the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed conservative nonprofit, to expand limits on claims.

In Idaho, the latest state where a measure has been introduced, trial lawyers are raising constitutional concerns, after courts in Texas and Pennsylvania struck down new laws as recently as 2010.

Idaho Republican Rep. Brent Crane of Nampa wants to follow states from North Dakota to Florida that have passed similar bills.

It’s part of Crown’s strategy to limit asbestos losses, with 50,000 pending claims that could cost it $250 million or more in coming years.