Over the last 30 years, it’s estimated nearly 1,000 companies have filed for bankruptcy protection largely thanks to their status as defendants in thousands of asbestos injury lawsuits. Most filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy status and have made efforts to reorganize, as well as establish trust pursuant to 11 U.S.C. 524(g), from which current and future asbestos injury plaintiffs can draw. Between 2003 and 2016, industry analysts say these companies and their insurers paid nearly $40 billion to the trust system, growing from 14 active trusts in 2004 to 58 by the close of 2016. These trusts are established with the intention of preserving assets for future and current claimants, relying on projections of near- and long-term claim filing and payment rates in order to manage the flow of money.
In recent years, a number of federal and state-level legislative actions have targeted victims of mesothelioma, often specifically citing the payouts of these trusts, in calling for “greater transparency.” Ultimately, these are efforts to slow plaintiffs down and limit what they can recover.
Let’s take for example the measure being mulled in New Hampshire. Continue reading →