Asbestos lawyers opposed to Senate’s corporate ‘bailout’

June 5th, 2006

A trust fund bill that is supposed to redress the injuries suffered by asbestos and mesothelioma victims is deeply flawed, according to a statement issued by Ken Suggs, president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA).

“This is the same fundamentally flawed asbestos bailout bill that the Senate wisely blocked in February,” he said. “Once again, this legislation fails to treat victims wisely while making taxpayers, not the wrongdoers, foot the bill. It provides the asbestos industry with a $20 billion, taxpayer-guaranteed bailout after it knowingly poisoned people, while leaving numerous victims with nothing and others facing impossible bureaucratic hurdles.”

Suggs contends that the bill has been opposed by a bipartisan coalition of Senators, most asbestos victims’ organizations, the insurance industry and even some of the affected companies. He also predicted that the fund would inevitably go bankrupt. Asbestos victims, he claims, “will be left with nothing when the fund collapses under its own weight and flawed design.” Their ability to file an asbestos lawsuit or join a class action asbestos lawsuit would be severely limited if the bill were to become law.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for decades. But exposure to asbestos has been proven to greatly increase a person’s chance of getting mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer. Every year, nearly 10,000 people (including 3,000 in the United States alone) get a mesothelioma diagnosis.

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