For the Health of Consumers and our Legal System

Posted on

Two scoops is better than one for ice cream, but it’s not something we should allow in our court system.

Double dipping in asbestos-related personal injury lawsuits is a practice that allows trial lawyers to double their recovery and lawyer fees by filing lawsuits in court, waiting until those suits are settled and then filing another claim against the asbestos compensation bankruptcy trusts. Simply put, double dipping allows personal injury lawyers to enrich themselves at the expense of asbestos victims.

The House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence today will hold an interim committee hearing on the issue.  They should work to stop this practice.

By closing the asbestos loophole in Texas law, asbestos claimants themselves – individuals suffering from mesothelioma often with little time left to live –actually stand to gain the most. Such a change would allow these harmed individuals and their families access to compensation faster than the present system allows and stop the double payouts to plaintiff’s lawyers looking to game the system.

Sadly, we know well-funded personal injury trial lawyers – you’ve seen them fishing for clients with their mesothelioma ads on television – have fought and will continue to fight smart reform.

They managed to derail a similar reform effort last session. Greed is a great motivator, and mesothelioma lawsuits can be extremely lucrative. Let’s hope state leaders take action to provide protection and swift compensation to those truly harmed.

Excerpted from an op-ed by Chip Hough, president of Basic Industries, a Texas-based company that provides industrial and commercial maintenance and construction services.  Hough is also a board member of the Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas.