The Week Ahead: Asbestos

By February 13, 2006General

This week, we’ll continue to push the Senate to get the asbestos bill done. As you saw in this space last week, the New York Times and the Washington Post agree with us, so we need to get this done this week, as the end of the world must be near.

You know the drill: more than 70 companies have gone bankrupt as a result of this scandal, many of whom never made asbestos. And, the issue isn’t whether it’s harmful or not — it is. The issue is whether sick people should recover, or healthy people and trial lawyers. We throw in with the sick people. Some $54 billion has been paid out already by companies but almost 60% of that has gone to “transaction costs” (read: trial lawyers). Damned expensive justice, no?

Please drop a note to your Senators on this, and urge them to move this bill forward. One more brick in the wall for the trial bar. Just think: if we could establish the radical principle that sick people should recover before healthy people and trial lawyers, there’s no end to what we could accomplish.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Pat Cleary says:


    You make some very good points, but I must emphasize that all the companies you reference — most of them NAM members — are working mightily to reach a solution on this bill. We have spent years pushing for this trust fund so that those who are truly sick can recover, not trial lawyers and healthy people.

    Thanks for writing,

    Pat Cleary

  • Gordon Knopp says:

    Congress already has a solution for the asbestos crises and they have had for thirty years now.

    Just keep stalling, and the real victims of asbestos will eventually die. With all the victims gone there will be no need for a asbestos bill. No need for an asbestos bill unless Congress wants to continue to see trial lawyers enrich themselves from the asbestos crisis. No need to pass a asbestos bill unless Congress wants to continue to watch lawsuits being filed for those that are not sick.

    Companies that manufactured asbestos … are not stupid.

    They are well aware that many asbestos victims that are truly sick will die from other causes such as car accidents, heart attacks etc. The victims family would than be hard pushed to sue for wrongful death due to asbestos exposure.

    The plaintiff in such actions would not be here to continue their lawsuit thus, “Well, that is one more suite we can strike from our list”.

    If Congress was serious about fixing the problem they would forget about party lines, contributions from trial lawyers, big business and the lobbyists from other special interest groups. Congress, should sit down and say enough victims have died without compensation, enough victims have suffered while struggling to pay medical bills and enough victims have been victimized by the asbestos companies and the system.

    Only when Congress is willing to put aside all the outside influence and really think about the victims and their families will they be able to construct a meaningful, and fair bill to compensate asbestos victims.

    While some members of Congress seem to care about a bill that would end the asbestos crisis and compensate those that are truly sick from asbestos, there are always the ones that try to kill the bill.

    Congress members that try to kill the bill or suggest that, “The Bill” isn’t the answer are the same ones that never introduce a bill of their own or attempt to improve this bill.

    More companies are going to be forced into bankruptcy which translated into more victims unable to file claims in a Court of Law. More job loses.

    Even our Supreme Court has called on Congress to pass legislation to end the countless law suits. We need to stop the bickering, stop the lawsuits, stop the lawyers from getting rich from the sick and injured. We need this bill.

    For thirty years now that hasn’t happened. Don’t you think it is about time?

  • karl gruber says:

    Sen. L. Graham of South Carolina needs to support this bill. Although a former lawyer, he is a now a senator from a conservative state.