BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse
Watch enjoyed seeing the U.S. House of Representatives recently pass
the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim
Transparency Act of 2017.
The House passed the bill, known as
House Resolution 985, by a vote of 220-201 on March 9, according to a
by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.
According to a report
on the National Law Journal, the first bill would change many aspects
of class actions in order to cut down how many exist, with a focus on
those looking for “large payouts for speculative or nonexistent
injuries.” Also, attorney fees would be tied to the settlement
amounts, place restrictions on “who plaintiffs attorneys could
represent,” and put a stop to discovery in the initial phases of
bill would make quarterly reports of payments made to victims of
asbestos-related illnesses required to be filed by bankrupt-company
trusts. This was needed, according to the bill's supporters, to
counter attorneys who have kept evidence withheld in suits filed for
those who have made claims against said trusts.
Director Melissa Landry told the Louisiana Record via email
that the bill has “many important reforms.”
“That will help
stop lawsuit abuse and improve our civil-justice system,” she
Landry said the bill motivates lawyers to give their top
efforts in helping their clients.
“By incentivizing lawyers to
do the best work for their clients, HR 985 will help ensure fairer,
more-efficient outcomes for claimants and defendants in class-action
litigation," she said. "By shining a light on the asbestos
bankruptcy trust system, it will also discourage opportunistic
personal-injury lawyers from filing false or exaggerated claims that
take away from resources that should be used to pay future
Landry said there has been a recent surge in attorneys
trying to use the legal system for their own benefit.
litigation has skyrocketed in recent years as more and more
personal-injury trial lawyers have sought to use and abuse our legal
system for their own personal gain, often at the expense of the
clients they purport to represent," she said.
the bill helps claimants receive the most that they can for their
injuries or sicknesses.
“Today, it is estimated more than 60
different bankruptcy trusts collectively manage over $40 billion in
compensation funds that have been set aside for veterans and others
exposed to asbestos," she said. "This complex network of
bankruptcy trusts operates with very little oversight, and there is
ample evidence that some are gaming the system.
“HR 985 will help cut down on this
abuse by requiring quarterly reports on claims made to the trusts
while taking measures to protect claimants’ personal information.
By weeding out bad actors who are abusing the current system, HR 985
will also help preserve funds for future claimants and ensure that
all deserving victims receive the maximum relief for their illness
Landry said LLAW “fully supports” the
"We applaud the overwhelming majority of Louisiana House
delegation that voted for HR 985 including Rep. Steve Scalise,
R-Jefferson; Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Port Barre; Rep. Mike Johnson,
R-Benton; Rep. Ralph Abraham, R–Mangham; and Rep. Garret Graves,
R-Baton Rouge," Landry said.