The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Arizona Manufacturers Council (AMC) sent a letter in April asking U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) to support the proposed Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (FACT) and calling for an end to asbestos-case fraud.
In the letter, chamber President and CEO Glenn Hamer and AMC Chairman Steve Macias urged Franks to vote for the FACT bill.
“This simple, commonsense reform would require asbestos trust funds to disclose information on their claims, protecting the trust assets from double-dipping plaintiffs and allowing businesses an opportunity to fully and fairly defend themselves in court,” Hamer and Macias said.
Their letter said the number of bankrupt companies forming asbestos trusts in order to reimburse claimants for alleged injuries has grown to 60 and the trusts have $36 billion in assets and expressed concerns about potential deception.
“Unfortunately, because of the opaque nature of the trusts, fraud and abuse are common and are causing the trust assets to be depleted at a more rapid rate,” the letter read in part. Hamer and Macias cited Arizona’s H.B. 2603, which Gov. Doug Ducey signed to promote transparency by obligating claimants to file claims before proceeding to trial, and to reveal any payments received from the trusts at trial.
The federal bill would require U.S. asbestos trusts to report on a quarterly basis regarding payouts and data on victims of asbestos-related disease and to make that information public. The legislation would also sanction the accessibility to and transfer of data to any defendant corporations. The FACT bill also would provide for identity protection by concealing private medical records and individuals’ Social Security numbers.
“We urge you to support this simple, sound reform,” the letter said.