Wisconsin's Gov. Walker Signs Asbestos Trust Fund Transparency Bill into Law
ATRA’s allies at the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council, Inc. report that Governor Scott Walker earlier today signed into law AB 19, asbestos trust fund transparency legislation. The new law promotes greater transparency by:
- Requiring asbestos plaintiffs to disclose any and all claims that they have filed or will file with asbestos trust funds, along with all of the documents and information that support the trust claims.
- Requiring judges to admit trust claims and supporting materials into evidence at trial; prohibiting plaintiffs from spuriously alleging that trust claims and their supporting documents are privileged.
- Providing defendants with a powerful tool to ensure that plaintiffs file and disclose all possible claims with asbestos trusts. AB 19 authorizes defendants to identify trust claims that the plaintiff could and should file. If a judge agrees, the case is stayed until that claim is filed and disclosed.
Wisconsin now joins Ohio and Oklahoma by enacting a law that protects businesses from unscrupulous plaintiffs’ attorneys who seek to “double-dip” with both lawsuits against solvent asbestos defendants and administrative claims on bankruptcy trusts.