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Mealey's Litigation Report Quotes Elihu Inselbuch's Testimony Before Senate Judiciary Committee on Transparency of Asbestos Trusts
Caplin & Drysdale

Mealey's Litigation Report Quotes Elihu Inselbuch's Testimony Before Senate Judiciary Committee on Transparency of Asbestos Trusts

Date: 2/17/2016

Mealey's Litigation Report quotes Elihu Inselbuch's testimony from the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing concerning transparency in asbestos trusts and the "Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2015" (the "FACT Act").  For the complete article, please visit Lexis Advance's website (subscription required). To read Mr. Inselbuch's full written testimony, click here.

Excerpt taken from the article. 

Liability

. . .

Caplin & Drysdale's Elihu Inselbuch, who has worked in and with the asbestos bankruptcy system for nearly 30 years, told the committee that the FACT Act represents an attempt by corporations "to reduce, minimize and ultimately extinguish their liability to their victims in the tort system."

"The legislation's only beneficiaries are the very companies that dragged their feet in removing asbestos from products despite knowing of its hazards since the 1930s and then falsely argued in court that they had no knowledge of the dangers or that the claims arose at exposure and were time-barred," Inselbuch said. "The resulting public health epidemic kills thousands of U.S. citizens every year and will continue to do so for decades," Inselbuch said.

Double Dips

Congress created the asbestos trust system in 11 U.S. Code Section 524(g) to address this situation. "The trusts are private entities and have systems in place to ensure proper and prompt payment and provide for claimants to object should they need to do so," Inselbuch said.

Inselbuch said trust audits confirm the legitimacy of the "overwhelming percentage" of trust claims. "There is no motivation for a trust to permit fraudulent claims and no evidence that such claims are anything but a small percentage of the total," Inselbuch said.

"The alleged "double-dipping" the FACT Act seeks to end is nothing more than a plaintiff attempting to make himself whole by collecting from each party responsible for his or her injuries," Inselbuch said.

Inselbuch argued that tort defendants share the same discovery tools as plaintiffs and can use discovery to paint a trust as the responsible party if it wishes.

"There is a reason every victims' group opposes the legislation," Inselbuch said. The legislation is nothing but an attempt to avoid responsibility, Inselbuch argued.

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