Over the years, many companies have filed for bankruptcy due to the overwhelming costs of litigation from asbestos victims. With so many lawsuits surrounding companies who manufactured products containing asbestos, large fund accounts were set up to compensate victims for their medical conditions. These asbestos bankruptcy trusts have helped several companies reorganize in Chapter 11 and resume business.
No Double Dipping
In recent years, it has come to the attention of the court that some asbestos victims were making multiple compensation claims. Filing a lawsuit against a company not in bankruptcy after already making claim to the existing asbestos bankruptcy trust became a real concern in many court districts. In order to reduce the “double dipping” by some claimants, Ohio Governor John R. Kasich signed a new bill into place in December of last year.
Ohio bankruptcy courts will now have better control over the trusts, as Substitute Ohio House Bill 380 will require plaintiffs in asbestos lawsuits to sign a sworn statement acknowledging their claim in the bankruptcy trusts. Claimants will be required to provide parties involved in their lawsuit all existing trust claims made within the 30 days after the discovery process is initiated. The new bill “require[s] claimants in asbestos tort actions to make certain disclosures pertaining to asbestos trust claims that have been submitted to asbestos trust entities for the purpose of compensating the claimant for asbestos exposure.”