U.S. Asbestos Bill Dead
Veteran observers of the U.S. asbestos litigation scene have pronounced the FAIR Act dead as a result of the collapse in support for the Republican Party during the mid-term elections (November 2006). Now that the Democrats have control of both the Senate and House of Representatives, attorney Steven Kazan said, the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act can be given the burial it deserves. It was never an honest attempt to deal with the problems caused by hazardous asbestos exposure. It was, from the start, a ploy to protect defendant corporations and their insurers at the expense of injured claimants.
Since the beginning of 2005, President Bush and his cronies have been trying to shut down U.S. asbestos litigation by creating a national asbestos trust fund which would minimize corporate America's asbestos liabilities by imposing administrative procedures on the handling of compensation claims. Asbestos victims groups, such as the Asbestos Diseases Awareness Organization (ADAO), trade unions, NGOs, medical professionals and trial lawyers opposed measures which would have deprived thousands of claimants of their constitutional rights.1 Criticizing Senate Bill S. 3274, the ADAO said it: inadequately addresses the most fundamental elements necessary for a just piece of legislation; spokesman Doug Larkin accused the sponsors of the bill of putting the needs of industry and special interest groups before those of injured Americans.
Reflecting on the demise of the FAIR Act, Ms. Linda Reinstein, ADAO Executive Director said:
"Americans are grateful to have the focus on asbestos trust fund legislation shift to preventing painful, disabling and deadly asbestos diseases.Asbestos is responsible for the largest man-made public health crisis and deadly exposure continues today as recently documented by the experiences of the ten U.S. Capitol tunnel workers. Victims deserve medical treatment and financial support as they battle the fight of their life. With the bill behind us, we can focus on the future and work towards banning asbestos and funding research for a cure."
November 13, 2006