Houston , Tx, USA , 02/08/2016 /SubmitPressRelease123/
The FACT Act has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, and is now moving on to the Senate for consideration and approval. But if U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has anything to say about it, the act will go no farther. Officially titled the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act, the FACT Act’s supporters and authors claim that it is intended to increase transparency in the asbestos litigation arena, providing greater access to information about who is receiving compensation and therefore preserving funds for mesothelioma victims into the future. But according to Schumer and others, the act will actually make it more difficult and intimidating for those who are in need of compensation for asbestos exposure to go through the process, and since a large percentage of mesothelioma victims are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, Schumer has called the bill an “offensive invasion of the privacy of those who defended this country”, and has said he will do everything in his power to stop the bill from passing.
Asbestos is a material that was widely used in the United States in the first half of the 20th Century. It has been well established that it causes mesothelioma, a rare and always fatal form of cancer that affects the linings of the lungs or abdominal organs. Its use was particularly prevalent in military settings such as boiler rooms and insulation of naval ships, and as a result roughly one third of those who are diagnosed with the disease are veterans. These men and women generally succumb to the disease within two years of diagnosis, and face a difficult and painful series of treatments in order to prolong their lives or minimize their suffering during that time. Though they are not able to file lawsuits against the government for their exposure, they are eligible for compensation from a variety of asbestos bankruptcy trusts, as well as by filing suit against the companies that supplied the asbestos to the military.
The FACT Act would necessitate that those applying for this compensation provide a great deal of information on a public registry, including their work history, their medical records, and even parts of their Social Security numbers. The administrators of asbestos bankruptcy trusts would similarly be required to make public this information on anybody to whom they have paid compensation. Though the act’s authors claim that this information would provide a roadblock against double dipping the money in the trusts, Schumer says that there is little evidence that any such fraud is occurring, and that there are better methods available in any case. “I am all for rooting out fraud, but we should do it with a scalpel, not a sledgehammer – especially when we are talking about our veterans.”
“The most shocking part about this House bill is that it leaves defenseless those who defended us by serving our country,” says Schumer. “This legislation would not only delay the compensation process it would intimidate those suffering from asbestos-related diseases, like mesothelioma, by requiring the publication of their personal, sensitive information on the internet. The whole purpose of our legal system is to level the playing field of justice, but this bill would put a thumb on the scale for the companies who may have knowingly exposed our veterans to asbestos. That is just plain wrong, and I plan to go to the mat for those who served our country to make sure this doesn’t pass the Senate.”
Schumer has proven to be a strong advocate for veterans with mesothelioma. If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with this disease or any other asbestos-related disease and you need information about your rights or eligibility for compensation, the compassionate attorneys at Danziger & De Llano can help. Contact our office today at (713) 222-9998 for information on how to file a mesothelioma lawsuit
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