reports that on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 the House approved House Resolution
982, the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (FACT Act) in a vote
221-199. The FACT Act is part of a national campaign being led by the
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and National Chamber of Commerce
to limit compensation paid to asbestos victims and delay justice.
There is good news though. According to the article, the Democratic-controlled
Senate has no plans to take up the bill, and the White House on Tuesday
said President Barack Obama would veto it. “The bill’s mandatory
reporting and disclosure requirements would threaten asbestos victims’
privacy when they seek payment for injuries from an asbestos bankruptcy
trust,” the White House said in a statement of administration policy
opposing the bill.
On Tuesday, Linda Reinstein, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)
President/CEO and Co-Founder along with members of the Alliance for Justice,
the American Association for Justice and the
Asbestos Cancer Victims’ Rights Campaign, attended a House Staff briefing to oppose
the bill and urge representatives to vote against the FACT Act.
This legislation is an invasion of privacy which seeks to require patients
and their families to post personal financial information, information
about their dependents and the last four digits of their Social Security
numbers on a public website. The bill will not only limit justice received
by victims, but will ultimately open them and their families up to potential
It would also have claimants seek compensation through the asbestos trust
system before going through their state court to seek damages against
companies, some states already have this law in practice.
Supporters of the legislation claim that rampant fraud is occurring in
the system, fraud for which they have no definitive proof. They say this
fraud occurs when people file claims against one trust blaming it for
their asbestos disease, then make the same claims to other trusts as well
as to companies in court.
Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are not typically caused
by a single exposure to asbestos. In almost all cases, the disease is
caused by the cumulative effect of many, sometimes countless, exposures
throughout a person’s lifetime. Accordingly, asbestos disease is
almost always the result of exposures to a wide variety of asbestos products
from a multitude of different manufacturers and suppliers. It has long
since been established that these companies knew about the dangers of
asbestos and kept it mum.
The asbestos company owners, such as the Koch brothers, who are behind
the so-called FACT legislation, have distorted the facts in an effort
to convince the public that persons claiming that their asbestos disease
was caused by more than one manufacturer’s product are committing
a fraud. In reality, it is the supporters of this legislation who are
committing a fraud—a fraud which, not surprisingly, inures to the
financial interests of asbestos companies at the expense of the financial
and privacy interests of asbestos illness sufferers.