More than 600,000 Texas veterans support U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold's Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act, a bill designed to promote fairness and honesty in asbestos litigation and to increase transparency in asbestos trusts.
“Don’t our veterans and first responders deserve the same compensation as the asbestos victims who came before them?” Farenthold asked when introducing his bill. “I believe they do. To make this possible, Congress must pass the FACT Act to keep asbestos trusts from running dry due to fraud and abuse.”
Prominent among the vets supporting Farenthold's bill is a former national commander of the American Legion, Washington County Judge John Brieden. In a recent commentary in the Austin American-Statesman, coauthored with Texas Coalition of Veterans Organizations Chairman Emeritus Morgan Little, he asserted that abuse of asbestos trust funds by double-dipping attorneys “disproportionately affects military veterans.”
Judge Brieden emphasized that “one in three asbestos and mesothelioma victims is a veteran” and that the trusts that should protect them “have been depleted by a system that allows lawyers to tell one story to the trusts and another in their lawsuits.”
The bill passed the U.S. House in March and awaits action in the Senate.
“Veterans and everyone touched by the tragedy of asbestos exposure need transparency,” Brieden affirmed. “They need it soon – or there may be little or nothing left. We urge the U.S. Senate to continue reforming a deeply flawed system.”
That deeply flawed system has its supporters, however.
“The attorneys involved who are making big money obviously are lobbying and fighting against it like hell. It has been extremely difficult because of the intense lobbying,” Brieden told The Record.
“What is being paid today is half or less than half of what was being paid 25 years ago, because the trusts have been sucked down by these guys going around making these multiple claims,” Brieden lamented.
It’s time to stop disrespecting the men and women who have served our country?