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U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) is at it again. He has quietly reintroduced a bill in the House of Representatives (H.R. 906) that would make it incredibly difficult for asbestos victims and their families to file lawsuits.
The bill is basically the same piece of legislation as the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act, or FACT Act, that has failed to make it through Congress despite repeated attempts. This insidious bill would force asbestos bankruptcy trust administrators to, on a quarterly basis, provide information on plaintiffs in asbestos lawsuits.
All you need to know about how bad this bill actually is for sufferers of asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma is that asbestos manufacturers are in favor of it. The reason is that it would put an incredible burden on bankruptcy trusts, and indirectly on plaintiffs. It would delay payments from trusts even longer, and it would also require administrators to disclose private information regarding plaintiffs, such as their history of asbestos exposure and their work history.
The purpose of the bill is simple – to dissuade future plaintiffs from taking action against asbestos companies. They are banking on the probability that plaintiffs would simply give up, because they will figure it’s simply not worth it to engage in lengthy legal action. As a result, family members will not have the money the need for medical bills and other expenses caused by their loved ones’ asbestos exposure.
President Trump and the Republican Congress figure to be much more receptive to Farenthold’s bill, and that is an extremely scary prospect for victim advocates. Trump is actually on record as being a proponent of asbestos, going so far as issuing a tweet in 2012 that asbestos could have kept the World Trade Center from falling after the 9/11 terror attacks.
The threat of this bill actually passing is higher than it has ever been before. As a result, the need for action is more urgent than ever before. This shouldn’t be an issue of political partisanship. It should be about Protecting What’s Right. If you agree, please contact your Congressional representative as soon as you can to voice your opposition to this harmful piece of legislation.