Mississippi Asbestos Bill Dies in Committee

A bill threatening the rights of asbestos victims to pursue justice was introduced in the Mississippi House of Representatives in January 2013. The Republican-sponsored legislation, House Bill 529, died in the “Judiciary A” committee on February 5. House Bill 529 would have required asbestos injury victims suing responsible parties to disclose any and all details regarding previous claims and settlements involving asbestos trusts. The bill included a 30-day time limit — from the filing date — during which a claimant must submit such information. A similar piece of legislation was signed into law in Ohio in December 2012 and will become effective in March 2013. That law, HB 380, requires mesothelioma victims and other plaintiffs who file an asbestos lawsuit in Ohio to disclose information on all existing and prior asbestos claims they have made with asbestos bankruptcy trusts, including any mesothelioma settlements they have been awarded. Corporate defendants, however, will continue to be allowed to keep their asbestos and mesothelioma settlements private. HB 380’s disclosure requirements apply only to asbestos cases. This is unusual because in every jurisdiction, the majority of U.S. civil claims are resolved by a negotiated settlement that both parties agree to keep private. Ohio is the first state to pass such legislation, but similar bills have been introduced in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and West Virginia. Such legislation is in the interest of companies who caused severe injuries to people from asbestos exposure and threatens the rights of asbestos victims to seek the compensation and justice they deserve. References: Previous: Doctor in U.K. Dies after Hospital Asbestos Exposure Next: Bootleg Russian Cigarettes Contain Asbestos