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Council wins another legislative victory at the expense of injured claimants, say lawyers

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Should I trust the insurance adjuster?”

 

Legislation culled from so-called “bill-mill” American Legislative Exchange Council’s library of plaintiff-unfriendly proposals has become the law of the land in the State of Arizona, and personal injury attorneys are crying foul. They say the bill Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law last Thursday will prevent victims of asbestos exposure from recovering the damages they are owed.

Hazmat Suit Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg Accident AttorneyGov. Ducey said that while victims are entitled to compensation, the bill would “increase transparency and fairness in asbestos litigation.” The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, will require claimants in asbestos-exposure lawsuits to “provide a sworn statement of every asbestos-related claim they’ve made or plan to make.” This will discourage or prevent what Gov. Ducey called “double recoveries.”

Asbestos exposure can cause a deadly lung disease called mesothelioma. Many individuals who have contracted mesothelioma have attributed the disease to workplace exposure to asbestos. The naturally occurring mineral is used principally for building and electrical insulation.

Companies that produce asbestos-related products have faced so many law suits in the past two decades that they have set up asbestos-injury trusts to compensate those who contract mesothelioma as a result of workplace-asbestos exposure. Some companies have alleged that claimants—often with the assistance of crooked personal-injury attorneys—have sued for damages for asbestos exposure in one or more courts of law, received a settlement or verdict in their favor, and then turned around and made a claim for compensation from one or more of the asbestos-injury trusts, or vice versa.

That’s a practice Gov. Ducey wants to end in Arizona. The Arizona Trial Lawyers Association says, however, that the bill he signed into law will make claims more expensive and will delay justice for victims of asbestos exposure. Janice Goldstein, executive director of the association, told the Claims Journal that the goal of the bill is to “make sure no victim survives his or her asbestosis or mesothelioma long enough to testify in court.”

The Claims Journal noted that the “conservative pro-business group known as the American Legislative Exchange Council has been pushing similar legislation in states around the country.” That group generates model bills that editors at Mesothelioma.com say are beneficial to corporate donors, who pay annual dues of between $7,000 and $25,000.

Senator Thom Tills, R-North Carolina, was the Council’s “Lawmaker of the Year” in 2011. That same year, the North Carolina legislature passed a law capping noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. Capping noneconomic damages in certain tort cases has been one of the Council’s principal initiatives in recent years, as detailed in its publication, The State Legislator’s Guide: Tort Reform Boot Camp. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, was named the Council’s “Lawmaker of the Year” last year.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/west/2015/04/13/262768.htm

http://www.alec.org/initiatives/federal-relations/senate/

http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/staff/beware-of-alec.htm

http://www.wral.com/nc-lawmaker-wins-top-alec-award-/13858212/

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20110803/articles/110809870

http://www.alec.org/wp-content/uploads/TortReformBootCampGuideFinal.pdf

 

 

Image Credit

“DASA 01” by Krd – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DASA_01.jpg#/media/File:DASA_01.jpg

 

 

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