Asbestos Trust: Time for a Decision

Articles & Publications

July 1, 2005

For more than a decade, calls for asbestos litigation reform have been made by nearly everyone involved in the litigation. As the United States Supreme Court stated in Ortiz v. Fibreboard Corporation, 527 U.S. 815, 821 (1999), "the elephantine mass of asbestos cases…defies customary judicial administration and call[s] for national legislation." The arguments are well known – burdensome costs have forced over 70 companies into bankruptcy, awards to victims are highly unpredictable, transactional costs and attorney's fees are enormous, companies once peripherally involved now find themselves targets, endangering the jobs and pensions of their employees, and the court system is illequipped to handle the volume of cases. Various alternatives have been suggested, but none have gained as much traction and publicity as the trust fund proposal that might be debated and voted on by the United States Senate as early as this month.

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