Last week, I attended a forum with victims of medical malpractice and relatives of those exposed to asbestos who would not have gotten their day in court had the bills before the House been law. Susan Vento, the wife of the late Congressman Bruce Vento (D-MN), who died of mesothelioma, spoke against the bills. Mesothelioma is a fatal lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Bruce Vento, who served 24 years in the House, was exposed while working in an asbestos factory in his 20’s.
Annually, 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, many of them are veterans who have inhaled asbestos fibers while on the job. The Chamber is pushing, “Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act of 2017, requiring volumes of disclosure from victims who file asbestos claims, but none from the companies responsible for causing the health issues. Thus, the bill makes it considerably more difficult and time-consuming for mesothelioma patients to be compensated by negligent companies. That’s the point and the goal!
We will be fighting back on behalf of victims of asbestos this week and supporting a number of bills to keep the courts accessible to consumers and not give protections to companies who engage in illegal and immoral activities practices. We stand with consumers.
On Tuesday, March 7, NCL joined other consumers and legislators to celebrate the introduction of seven pro-consumer bills. The pro-consumer arbitration bills are: Arbitration Fairness Act, Court Legal Access and Student Support (CLASS) Act, Justice for Servicemembers Act, Justice for Victims of Fraud Act, Mandatory Arbitration Transparency Act, and the Restoring Statutory Rights and Interests of the States Act.