Columbus, OH – An OH Senate committee has moved a bill forward on Tuesday intended to curb duplicate suits over the occupational exposure to asbestos in a state with a very large backlog of that sort of cases.
The entire Senate is expected to vote in favor of the measure on Wednesday. In January, the house had given approval to the bill that preserves rights of the victim to file lawsuit when injured by the white carcinogenic substance and does not cap the amount of damages they may receive.
The bill would need workers to divulge every asbestos claim they filed or filed on behalf of them or face charges of perjury.
According to proponents, it would stop double-dipping by asbestos victims and the victims have 2 different ways to pursue damages: trusts established by occasionally bankrupted firms for compensating victims or suits against lively businesses.
However, critics say the legislation impedes genuine asbestos claims. They argue the passage of the bill will make OH the very first state in the United States that imposes such restrictions on claims. Similar bill has been also introduced in Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Louisiana, and in the United States Senate and House.
Claims relating to asbestos exposure are rapidly increasing all over the country. In excess of 8500 United States corporations in various sectors representing almost 85% of the nation’s economy have asbestos-related claims against them, legislative analysts say. The Supreme Court in the U.S. has labeled this a crisis.
“The issue with the 2 tracks is the lack of complete transparency between them. In a suit, claimants can tell the court regarding the claims made already on trusts. But, they are needless to reveal in court whether they are planning claims with the trusts in the future. Because of this, the system is out of control with conflicting claims and fraud, and also with double-dipping from lawsuit awards and trust accounts,” the proponents say.
Till last September, Cuyahoga County had in excess of 5700 cases that are pending on asbestos docket, making it one of the busiest dockets in America, information from the Supreme Court in Ohio says. Cases are pending in 70 or more of the 88 Ohio counties as well.
“The bill is meant for giving a handout to asbestos industry whilst robbing dying victims of their legal rights,” said Asbestos Victims Coalition president Anthony Gallucci.