CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Senate today by a unanimous vote passed Senate Bill 411, which creates the Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act and the Asbestos and Silica Claims Priorities Act.
The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, establishes legal standards and procedures for the handling of certain asbestos and silica claims. Additionally, the bill establishes medical criteria procedures, statute of limitations standards, and requires disclosure of existing and potential asbestos bankruptcy trust claims.
“As a pulmonary doctor, I’m pleased that the Senate voted today with full bipartisan support to protect funds for West Virginians who are affected by asbestos-related injuries,” Senator Takubo said. “We must ensure funds are healthy five to 10 years from now to help pay for medical bills and family expenses, and this legislation will allow us to do that.”
Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson; Senator Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio; Senator Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha; and Senator Jeff Mullins, R-Raleigh, were also sponsors of the bill.
“This bill would promote honesty in litigation and help juries reach fully informed decisions as to the cause of a person’s asbestos-related disease,” Senator Carmichael said. “Other states have laws similar to this one, including our neighboring state, Ohio. Ohio has given priority to asbestos cancer victims for more than a decade and adopted trust claim honesty three years ago. Asbestos litigation is still active in Ohio, and deserving people continue to be paid.”
The bill now goes to the House of Delegates.