Texas Bills Harmful to Asbestos Victims

Non-Cancer Asbestos Diseases Would be Prevented From Having Day in Court

AUSTIN, TX—July 31, 2003—The Texas legislature may again consider SB 8 and HB 47, two identical bills that would deprive many asbestos victims of their day in court. Although the asbestos legislation did not pass during the state's regular and first special sessions, it may be resurrected at another special session of the legislature this year. Also, similar bills may be introduced in other future sessions.

SB 8 and HB 47 would block many asbestos cases from reaching trial by assigning them to inactive status (the inactive docket) if they do not involve mesothelioma or other cancers. Rules would be established for determining whether these non–cancer cases could be moved to active status. The removal would be based upon controversial medical criteria that would exclude some deserving asbestos sufferers. The asbestos legislation would provide a windfall to manufacturers of asbestos products, while doing little to help those with asbestos–related diseases, according to various consumer groups.

The Austin Chronicle recently published "The Quick and the Dead: The Lege Wraps Tort Reform in Asbestos Packaging," an excellent description of the dangers posed by SB 8 and HB 47 and any similar legislation. The article also discusses the subterfuge practiced by asbestos manufacturers and the risks of so–called "tort reform." We consider it required reading not just for Texans, but for everyone who wants to learn more about asbestos legislation and the problems facing asbestos victims and their families.

To see the full text of SB 8 and HB 47, go to Texas Legislature Online. Scroll to Quick Bill Status, choose 78th 1st Called Session, and search on SB 8 and HB 47. You will find both the original and Committee versions of the bills. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with an asbestos–related diseases, please feel free to contact us at Brayton Purcell. We have been successfully handling asbestos cases for over 20 years and can advise you of your legal options.