LAAW Spotlight: Asbestos Lawsuit Abuse

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Editor’s note: Throughout the week of Oct. 2, we’ll share highlights of how TALA and local CALAs have fought lawsuit abuse and advocated for much-needed reform. First up is a look at asbestos litigation.

Did you know that asbestos litigation is the longest running lawsuit abuse in America? Decades after the first asbestos case was filed in Beaumont alleging harm from asbestos exposure, these cases have flooded into our nation’s courts.

No state has felt the burden of this litigation landslide more than Texas, where as many as 40 percent of all claims nationally have been filed in previous years. Most of these lawsuits – some put estimates as high as 89 percent – were filed on behalf of plaintiffs with questionable claims or who are not impaired.

The Texas Legislature in 2005 passed Senate Bill 15, major asbestos litigation reform that took effect Sept. 1, 2005. The law was supported by all of the CALA groups across the state. The new law brought much needed fairness to the asbestos litigation process so that the truly injured receive the compensation and help they need, as opposed to waiting in line behind thousands who are not sick. The law also protects employers that have nothing to do with asbestos from being targets of frivolous lawsuits.

In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1492, requiring asbestos plaintiffs to reveal claims they submitted to the trusts set up by bankrupt companies to pay asbestos claimants in order to address the issue of inconsistent claiming of exposure history.

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse groups continue to support commonsense lawsuit reforms that are aimed at discouraging frivolous lawsuits and questionable legal tactics that end up hurting consumers and small businesses.