(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The proposed FACT Act delays compensation for asbestos victims, puts privacy at risk

Washington, D.C. — The following is a statement from American Association for Justice CEO Linda Lipsen on the introduction of the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“With nearly 10,000 Americans suffocating every year from horrific asbestos diseases like mesothelioma, Congress should be focused on ensuring justice for the victims and protecting the public health and safety. Instead, asbestos corporations and the U.S Chamber of Commerce have orchestrated a calculated campaign to delay and deny justice for dying asbestos victims.

“The reintroduction of the FACT Act is a reminder of the lengths asbestos corporations will go to evade being held accountable. It is offensive that the same corporations that profited from hiding the dangers of asbestos would now turn to Congress to force the public release of asbestos victims' personal information, delaying compensation and putting their privacy at risk.”

Asbestos Victims & Asbestos Trusts on H.R. 526:

H.R. 526 is a massive intrusion on the privacy of asbestos victims and their families

In a May 20, 2013 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, asbestos victims stated:

“The FACT Act forces the asbestos trust funds to reveal on a public database personally-identifiable information about asbestos victims and their families. This would include private work history, asbestos exposure information, the last four digits of their social security numbers, and even the personal information of children who were exposed at an early age. This is offensive. The information on this public registry could be used to deny employment, credit, and health, life, and disability insurance. We are also concerned that victims would be more vulnerable to identity thieves, con men, and other types of predators.”

H.R. 526 will lead to higher costs for asbestos trusts and compensation delays for asbestos victims

In a November 8, 2013 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, asbestos trusts stated:

“The bill does not, as its proponents claim, protect either the trusts or their beneficiaries. Rather, the bill merely changes the rules in the tort system so as to impose increased costs on the trusts' claimants. The litigation advantage that this bill provides to solvent asbestos defendants is its only practical purpose. … the trusts believe that the bill will unduly and unnecessarily increase the trusts' administrative burdens and will inevitably lead to higher non-reimbursable costs and delays in the processing of claims and payment to holders of asbestos claims. Such a bill does not protect the trusts or their beneficiaries; it burdens them.”

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.