Asbestos Bill Remains $20 Billion Corporate Bailout for Asbestos Companies That Knowingly Poisoned People: Minor Changes to Bill Make it Worse for Asbestos Victims
Monday, June 5th, 2006.
In response to the re-introduction of the asbestos bailout bill in the U.S. Senate, Ken Suggs, President of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA), issued the following statement:
“This is the same fundamentally flawed asbestos bailout bill that the Senate wisely blocked in February. Once again, this legislation fails to treat victims fairly while making taxpayers, not the wrongdoers, foot the bill.
“It provides the asbestos industry with a $20 billion, taxpayer-guaranteed bailout after it knowingly poisoned people, while leaving numerous victims with nothing and others facing impossible bureaucratic hurdles.
“The basic flaws in the bill that caused it to be opposed by a bipartisan coalition of Senators, every major asbestos victims’ organization in the country, labor, the insurance industry, taxpayer rights’ organizations, and a large number of affected companies remain unchanged.
“If anything, the changes to the bill have made it worse for victims by effectively eliminating a sunset provision that would allow them to regain their rights in the civil justice system when the fund goes bankrupt — an outcome every independent analysis of the bill says is inevitable.
“Perhaps worst of all, bill supporters are giving false hope to asbestos victims poisoned on 9/11 or after Hurricane Katrina — they have the same negligible rights under the new version of the bill as the old one, and still will be left with nothing when the fund collapses under its own weight and flawed design.”
ATLA, with 60,000 members in the United States, Canada and abroad, is the world’s largest trial bar. It was established in 1946 to safeguard victims’ rights, strengthen the civil justice system, promote injury prevention, and foster the disclosure of information critical to public health and safety. Visit http://www.atla.org/
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