Asbestos Victim Group Encourages Senate to Vote Against Specters Asbestos Reform Bill
The CPMV Remains Opposed to Specters Bill despite Recent Changes
WASHINGTON, May 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Committee to Protect Mesothelioma Victims (CPMV) adds its voice to the AFL-CIO in remaining strongly opposed to U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter's asbestos trust fund bill, as currently amended. The Committee laid out its points of contention today in a letter to Specter and Leahy, as the Senate prepares to consider the legislation. The amended bill that will soon be considered by the U.S. Senate will take asbestos victims claims out of the court system and force them into a federal trust fund. The latest bill, voted out of committee yesterday, came as a result of months of negotiations among stakeholders, but is far from getting a consensus.
The CPMV agrees with Sen. Specter and others that federal legislation is necessary to deal with the high volume of litigation stemming from asbestos poisoning across the country, but adds that the "trust fund" approach advocated by Sen. Specter falls short in many areas - particularly in its ability to fairly compensate the sickest victims of asbestos poisoning. In its letter to Specter, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Leahy, Ranking Member, the CPMV notes that the bill is unfair because: it fails to provide adequate total and start-up funding to guarantee that all victims are fairly and fully compensated in a timely manner; it will leave out lung cancer victims with any history of smoking; it does not provide enough transparency where the public will be able to determine that corporations at fault are paying an appropriate amount into the fund; most victims of environmental and neighborhood exposure will not be treated fairly; pending claims will be pre-empted and previous settlements may be eliminated; and the exposure criteria for victims remains unfair, among many other reasons.
In the letter, Susan Vento, chairperson of the CPMV and wife of the late Congressman Bruce Vento, who died of mesothelioma, says, "The problems with your legislation represent the difficulties with the trust fund approach and reflect an inappropriate way to resolve the asbestos lawsuit crisis. It is an attempt to transform a complex judicial system into a singular federal bureaucracy, while taking away victims' constitutional right to seek legal recourse." The group plans to do all that they can to inform the public of the bill's unfairness and to stop its passage.
The Committee to Protect Mesothelioma Victims (CPMV) is an organization founded by asbestos victims and their families and friends. CPMV works to raise awareness on national asbestos issues and ensure that victims' rights are properly represented and protected on both a local and national level.