By DAVID YATES
A bill seeking to restrain fraud in asbestos litigation has passed both houses of the Texas Legislature.
In February, state Rep. Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels, introduced House Bill 1492, relating to consideration of asbestos or silica trust claims in actions asserting asbestos or silica injuries.
On Friday, May 22, the Texas Senate voted to pass the bill. The House had approved the measure on May 11 and was signed in the House on Monday, May 25, according to LegiScan.
Not long after the bill was filed, state tort reform groups, such as Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse, launched campaigns asking Texans to urge their legislators to support the bill and stop personal injury lawyers from “double-dipping.”
Double dipping in asbestos cases occurs when personal injury lawyers sue a company and claim its products harmed their clients while simultaneously filing claims with asbestos trusts blaming other products for the same exact harm.
Other groups who have been supporting HB 1492 include Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
If Gov. Greg Abbott signs off on the bill, the new law would require asbestos claimants to serve notices of their trust claims.
Under the law, if a claimant received compensation from a trust for an asbestos-related injury that also gave rise to a judgment against a defendant but the plaintiff failed to provide notice, the trial court can impose sanctions, including vacating the judgment.