Asbestos Litigation

May 2, 2003 • Volume 13, Issue 17
Should Congress try to control the flood of claims?
By Kenneth Jost

Introduction

An Environmental Protection Agency worker collects soil samples to test for asbestos contamination at a site in Minot, N.D., where insulation once was manufactured.  (AP Photo/Minot Daily News, Jill Schramm)
An Environmental Protection Agency worker collects soil samples to test for asbestos contamination at a site in Minot, N.D., where insulation once was manufactured. (AP Photo/Minot Daily News, Jill Schramm)

Asbestos was widely used for decades in the United States even though it was linked to cancer and other serious diseases. Over the past 30 years, people exposed to asbestos have flooded the courts with suits seeking monetary damages for their injuries. Asbestos use has been drastically reduced, but claims continue to increase annually by the tens of thousands. Business groups want Congress to solve the “litigation crisis” that already has cost $54 billion and could cost $210 billion more. One plan would create a $100 billion trust fund to pay victims; another would put a hold on claims from people who are not already sick. Trial-lawyer and labor groups say a trust fund might work if adequately financed, but closed-door negotiations on Capitol Hill have yet to produce a consensus.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Workforce Protections
Jul. 19, 2013  Telecommuting
May 21, 2004  Worker Safety
May 02, 2003  Asbestos Litigation
Jul. 19, 1996  Crackdown on Sexual Harassment
Aug. 09, 1991  Sexual Harassment
Apr. 13, 1990  Reforming Workers' Compensation
Mar. 09, 1990  Asbestos: Are the Risks Acceptable?
Feb. 16, 1990  Repetitive Motion: New Job Ailment
Nov. 25, 1988  Fired for No Good Cause: Is It Legal?
Jun. 07, 1985  Safety and Health in the Workplace
Dec. 24, 1976  Job Health and Safety
Sep. 26, 1947  Mine Safety
Jan. 18, 1946  Fair Practice in Employment
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Cancer
Crime and Law Enforcement
Labor Standards and Practices