The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act, also referred to as the FACT Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, poses significant harm to asbestos victims and their families.
In short, the FACT Act would forfeit the privacy of individuals suffering from asbestos disease by putting private information – including name and asbestos exposure history – into a publicly accessible database that would make victims vulnerable to identity theft and a target for online predators.
Here is a video highlighting the serious flaws and human toll of this legislation:
Under current state and federal rules, the terms of and negotiations surrounding settlements of cases are treated as private and strictly confidential information, not subject to discovery or admissible in court cases. The bill serves to re-victimize families impacted by asbestos while failing to protect Americans from future exposures to asbestos.
“It’s offensive that with veterans and workers dying from asbestos exposures that Congress would act to delay or deny their compensation at the behest of the companies responsible for their deaths. The Senate should recognize this absurd bill for what it is – nothing more than a corporate giveaway – and reject it,” said Linda Lipsen, CEO of American Association for Justice (AAJ).
Proponents of the bill contend the legislation is necessary to ensure transparency of the asbestos claims process to protect against alleged double-recovery by asbestos victims – more than what they allegedly need – from the companies that are responsible for their diseases. However, there is no truth this claim.
The bill is yet to be enacted, but asbestos defendants and their allies, under the purview of organization such as American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the National Chamber of Commerce, are attempting to pass equally troublesome legislation at the state level.
Asbestos victims and their families are urged to get involved and can start by signing the petition and contacting their representatives to go on record opposing this anti-victim and anti-veteran bill.