April 3, 2009
Counsel for the American Tort Reform Association is very concerned about legislation advancing in the Texas Legislature that threatens to undermine asbestos laws.
The legislation, SB 1123, has been introduced by Republican Sen. Robert Duncan and would create insurmountable barriers for a peripheral or “low dose” asbestos defendant to be able to remove them from a mesothelioma case without having to pay a coercive settlement. Unfortunately, a substitute version of the bill was approved by the Senate State Affairs Committee Thursday afternoon. The House companion, HB 1811, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Craig Eiland is pending before the House Judiciary Committee.
NAMIC strongly encourages you to contact your state senators and urge them to oppose this ill-advised proposal.
If adopted, the proposal would overturn an important Texas Supreme Court decision, Borg-Warner Corp. v. Flores (2007), which requires quantification of exposure and proof that the dose was sufficient to be a substantial factor in causing the disease. Borg-Warner is a well-reasoned and sound opinion regarding requirements for causation testimony in asbestos cases.
ATRA believes that if the proposal becomes law settlement values of mesothelioma cases in Texas would go up and efforts to adopt a Borg-Warner type causation standard in other states would be dealt a tremendous blow. The plaintiffs' bar knows this, which is why they are going all out to pass the bill.
Included below are talking points provided by the Texas Civil Justice League. If you need more information please contact Carol Sims at the TCJL by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (512) 320-0474.