Under Pennsylvania’s current system of recovery for exposure to asbestos and a resulting diagnosis of mesothelioma, a person can submit a claim to a trust established by multiple companies under the auspices of a Bankruptcy Court. The claims’ process is easier and more streamlined compared to filing suit in the Court of Common Pleas and can recover a limited amount without having to prove causation. In addition, a plaintiff can file suit against an individual defendant corporation or even several corporations that either caused jointly or severally caused exposure to the asbestos that caused the defendant’s mesothelioma. While every case is different and there is no one-size-fits-all, Philadelphia asbestos lawyers generally argue that victims of mesothelioma do not receive adequate compensation.
The pro-business lobby wants to limit recovery to a minimum by requiring full disclosure of any recovery under the Bankruptcy Court, even if the recovery under the bankruptcy trust was inadequate. Since the Bankruptcy Court and State Court of Common Pleas recovery systems are independent of one another, what happens in one is not necessarily known in the other. The Pennsylvania Fairness in Claims and Transparency Act was originally introduced in 2013 and is modeled on similar litigation throughout the country. It has languished in the meantime, due in no small part to the fact that it does not help the victims of mesothelioma recover what is due to them under the law. A similar bill died in Congress, despite the fact that both houses are controlled by one party.
The pro-business authors of the legislation want to use evidence of a paltry settlement in one forum as evidence of adequate compensation in the other. Currently any settlement between the trust and a claimant is confidential and generally not permitted to be released even in discovery, and is also not subject to rules of discovery or disclosure. The federal version of the bill even goes so far as to seek to have the last four digits of the claimant’s Social Security number listed.
Rarely does the law fully compensate a person and their family for all of the losses that they have suffered when a loved one is exposed to asbestos and suffers from mesothelioma. The Pennsylvania Fairness in Claims and Transparency Act would likely curtail a plaintiff’s recovery so that businesses do not have to pay as much. Our Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler help all clients obtain what is rightfully theirs under the law.
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, we will fight for the financial compensation that you are entitled to under the law. In addition, we are here to help you through this very serious and trying time by standing by our clients and understanding their plight. Call us at 800-369-0899 or contact us online for a consultation for you or your loved one’s case.