AIA Disappointed By Failure Of Asbestos Lawsuit Legislation

Washington, DC (CompNewsNetwork) - The American Insurance Association (AIA) expressed disappointment that the Louisiana Senate chose not to consider asbestos lawsuit reform legislation during the 2009 session.  H.B. 220, 245 and 345, a package of bills aimed at providing guidelines and transparency in asbestos exposure related lawsuits, received high levels of support when they were passed by the House earlier this month.  The Louisiana plaintiffs' bar mounted an intense lobbying campaign against this legislation.

"AIA is disappointed that the Senate failed to consider this much needed lawsuit reform legislation," stated John Marlow, assistant vice president for AIA's Southwest Region.  "This legislation passed the House with strong support and deserved a vote in the Senate," added Marlow.  "It's customary for the Senate to formally consider all bills passed by the House," said Marlow.

H.B. 220 would have required petitioners in latent exposure cases to include for each plaintiff the name of each defendant, as well as the time period and location of the exposure and the products to which the plaintiff was exposed for each defendant.  It passed in the House by a vote of 56 to 38.

H.B. 245 would have required proper venue in cases of latent disease to be established only in the parish where the plaintiff alleges substantial exposure occurred.  It passed in the House by a vote of 61 to 31. 

H.B. 345 would have required a plaintiff in a claim for injury, death or disease to disclose at least 180 days before trial all existing or potential claims against a trust or a fund to prevent double-dipping.  It passed in the House by a vote of 58 to 31.

"It is most unfortunate the Senate failed to consider this important legislation that would establish long overdue fairness in the civil justice system of Louisiana," added Marlow.  "A fair legal climate would best serve the Louisiana economy during this economic downturn and protect the jobs of hard working employees across the state," concluded Marlow. 

In 2008, AIA joined other business groups and employers as a founding member of the Coalition for Common Sense (CCS) in Louisiana to support lawsuit abuse reform legislation to protect commercial policyholders from frivolous suits that threaten the jobs of their employees.

The American Insurance Association represents approximately 350 major insurance companies that provide all lines of property and casualty insurance and write more than $123 billion annually in premiums. The association is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has representatives in every state.

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