A proposed law that would make it much harder for mesothelioma victims to receive compensation for the harm that they’ve suffered is making its way through the Michigan state legislature. According to its sponsors, House Bill 5456 is designed to prevent double dipping by victims of asbestos exposure, who are able to file claims against both solvent asbestos companies and against insolvent asbestos companies through their asbestos bankruptcy trusts. Those opposed to the bill say that it the law favors the asbestos companies that sponsor it. The bill has already passed through the Michigan House of Representatives with 58 supporting votes against 51 opposing. Almost all in support were Republicans.
Speaking of the bill’s impact on mesothelioma victims, State Representative Yousef Rabhi, a Democrat representing Ann Arbor, said, “Some of those who are most impacted by asbestos exposure are our firefighters, construction workers, veterans, police and first responders. Putting corporate donors above our first responders, construction workers and veterans is despicable.”
According to critics of the bill, companies that are being sued by mesothelioma victims and others diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases would be able to request 60-day stays on claims, thus delaying trials repeatedly in cases where they believe that victims may also be filing claims against asbestos bankruptcy trusts. Says one victims advocate, “The bottom line with this bill is it allows the asbestos companies to file motions in front of the state trial court judge as many times as they want to. And we know from our experience that it’s very unusual for one of our clients that has been diagnosed with an asbestos-caused cancer to live much more than a year, maybe two years. This bill allows the defendants to control whether or not the people who are dying of cancer are going to have a trial date during their lifetime, or whether the trial date has to wait until after they’ve passed away.”
As asbestos companies attempt to make life more difficult for those who they have sickened with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, we are here to help make life easier. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244 to learn more about your rights.