This weekend, I sat watching a sporting event that was regularly interrupted with the usual commercials. However, one specifically caught my attention because it was accompanied with sad music and an elderly distinguished voice that was telling me to urge my federal legislators to pass a bill that would help make payment to his friend. Because I represent victims, my ears immediately went into full alert mode. The “voice” went on to discuss how his friend had contracted asbestos and that Senate Bill 852 would help to guarantee that his friend would be properly compensated for his condition.
Unfortunately, this Bill is nothing more than a failure to hold wrongdoers accountable. To date, it is reported that over 300,000 Americans have died from asbestos disease and that there are upwards of an additional 10,000 per year as asbestos continues to kill. This senate bill would eliminate all asbestos lawsuits and, instead, create a $140 billion government-run victims compensation pool. However, the overwhelming evidence relating to this amount shows that this fund would soon be in bankruptcy and that asbestos victims who are sick and dying would be left with no recourse. Consequently, we, as taxpayers would be forced to pick up the tab instead of the wrongdoers.
The big secret to this fund is that no one knows where this $140 billion comes from. It is reported that the financial terms of this senate bill were written in secret by financial firm Goldman Sachs, the company hired by the asbestos defendants to develop this bail out scheme. However, no one knows what companies are even paying into this fund to provide this amount and Goldman Sachs refused to provide this list to Senator Arlin Spector, who was the sponsor of Senate Bill 852.
A study by the general county office has found that every previous government compensation fund has been plagued with long delays and far more claims than predicted. In addition, the only entities that appear to be pushing for this are the asbestos companies that knowingly exposed workers to this disease. In addition, these companies continue to fight any kind of amendment that would require them to put more money into the overall fund if it is shown to be lacking. Also, the passage of this legislation would even set aside some settlements that are already providing benefits to injured victims. It seems to be that this does nothing but protect wrongdoers.