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When it's not really about Transparency and Fairness, pt. 2

Last week we were discussing a new law from Arizona that is designed to make it more difficult for victims of asbestos to make claims.

The new law specifically references a section of the statutes that applies sanctions for filing "unjustified actions." The section, 12-349, is generally applicable to every action in a court in the state, but it is likely that it is highlighted within the new statute to intimidate victims in the hopes they won't file any claims. 

What is remarkable is that the governor sees the greater harm in the possibility that some victims could receive some compensation from more than one source as a greater problem than the fact that people are dying of a terrible disease.

A disease that they developed because other people lied and disregarded their health in order to increase profits. But we should not be worried about these individuals, who are being robbed of their very lives? No, instead, according to the governor and his supporters, the real danger is that a victim of asbestos might receive a double recovery.

Of course, the real purpose of this law is to create additional hurdles and delays in the claims process, whereby they hope that the asbestos victims die before they can testify in a courtroom. The asbestos industry knows how compelling that testimony can be.

They know that if a victim dies prior to trial, their damages become an abstraction, and can be made to seem less real to a jury, as compared with when the living, coughing victim is present in the courtroom.

Sadly, as daily news reports raise the specter of asbestos in homes and buildings across the country, suggesting that asbestos cases are unlikely to disappear for a long time, this is how state legislatures spend their time.

Source:, "Arizona Governor Signs Bill to Modify Asbestos Injury Claims," Ryan Van Velzer, April 13, 2015

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