In recent years, the NC Chamber has fought for a number of key legal reforms to help give job creators the fair, transparent legal climate they need in North Carolina. However, current federal laws governing asbestos trust claims allow these firms to conduct much of their work behind curtains of secrecy. These trusts regularly refuse to share claims information with other trusts, tort litigants or the general public, which fuels the type of systematic uncertainty that can drive up frivolous lawsuits and the costly compliance burdens they bring for businesses. To combat this, the NC Chamber aligns its efforts with national business groups, including the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, to support commonsense asbestos transparency legislation.
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on this issue, and one of our state’s senatorial leaders took advantage of the opportunity to add his voice to this critical discussion. Senator Thom Tillis joined a number of other senators, as well as leaders from the nation’s jobs community, to push for passage of the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act. This federal proposal would lift the veil of secrecy hanging over asbestos trusts by requiring these funds to publicly disclose claims information. By ensuring asbestos trusts operate in concert with, rather than parallel to, the tort system, the more than $36 billion in assets currently held by these funds will be safeguarded for use in compensating only genuine victims of asbestos exposure.
By all accounts, the chorus in favor of commonsense asbestos reform legislation came through loud and clear at yesterday’s meeting. The NC Chamber applauds Senator Tillis and the pro-business representatives in attendance yesterday who had the courage to speak on this important issue. The NC Chamber recognizes these concerns, and as part of the ILR coalition we will continue to fight for transparency in asbestos claims laws as we work to support a fair legal climate for job creators. We will keep you updated on this issue as it continues to advance at the federal level.
Click here to see comments and view video footage from yesterday’s hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.