House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee Vice-Chairman Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) released the following statements upon the House Judiciary Committee’s approval of the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act (H.R. 906) by a vote of 19-11.
Chairman Goodlatte: “Asbestos victims often spend years in the courts to have their legitimate claims addressed and properly adjudicated. Many must look to the bankruptcy and asbestos trusts as the best way to seek compensation for their injuries.
“However, the unfortunate truth is that some dishonest parties take advantage of the asbestos trusts due to the lack of transparency within our current bankruptcy laws. This fraudulent activity can reduce the amount of funds available to deserving parties.
“The FACT Act requires bankruptcy trusts to be transparent like other courts. This will ensure deserving victims receive the maximum relief for their illness and injuries, while preserving privacy protections, and weeding out bad actors who would take advantage of the system.”
Congressman Farenthold: “The FACT Act will protect current and future victims of asbestos exposure by helping ensure the trust funds set up to pay claims remain solvent. Without the FACT Act, unscrupulous attorneys and bad actors can continue to bring duplicative claims to multiple trusts, thereby draining the funds available for future victims. This legislation is also crafted to protect the privacy of victims and combat the fraud and abuse currently plaguing the system.”
Background: The FACT Act, which was introduced by Subcommittee Vice-Chairman Farenthold, reduces fraud in the asbestos bankruptcy trust system through increased transparency measures. These measures ensure that asbestos bankruptcy trusts have the tools to combat fraud, which limits funds available for deserving asbestos victims. The FACT Act is a measured approach that strikes the proper balance between achieving transparency and protecting victims’ privacy.
Similar legislation passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote last Congress.