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Asbestos reform: Texas, Florida victories

The state-level movement for asbestos-suit reform scored two major victories this month, in Texas and Florida. In Texas, Senate lawmakers adopted a requirement that asbestos and silica suits be backed up in most cases by a doctor's report attesting to a certain actual level of illness or impairment. The deal was sweetened for plaintiffs, however, by a provision suspending time limits for filing suit, and a newly added provision barring personal insurers from dropping coverage or raising rates for persons with asbestos symptoms (the insurers saddled with this new unchosen obligation are, of course, often different companies from the liability insurers that benefit from litigation reduction). Approval by the House and Gov. Rick Perry is considered likely. (Texas Lawyer, Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

In Florida, as part of a burst of action at the close of the legislative session, lawmakers also enacted a medical requirement for asbestos litigants, which Gov. Jeb Bush is expected to sign. Of the rest of the ambitious agenda promoted by reformers in Tallahassee this year (see May 2), the only item to pass was one shielding utilities that provide streetlights from lawsuits. (St. Petersburg Times, Business Insurance).



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.