Asbestos legislation has been stuck in a congressional black hole since early last year when the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act was presented to the House of Representatives. The bill sought to establish a $140 billion national trust fund to handle claims related to the known carcinogen, but since it appeared, the bill moved to the Senate where much posturing but little action has occurred until recently.

The FAIR Act would create a privately funded, publicly administered trust fund that would provide compensation for legitimate present and future claimants of asbestos exposure. It would be paid for by defendant participants and insurers, with the latter contributing over $45 billion over the next two and a half decades. Its creation, however, would prevent the courts from hearing lawsuits from those claiming to be affected by the fibrous material, which could significantly limit some companies’ liabilities.

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