Utah Passes Asbestos Litigation Transparency Act

In an effort to halt asbestos fraud, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed into law a bill to prevent plaintiffs’ lawyers from, on behalf of a single client, seeking money from multiple asbestos trusts while additionally bringing a lawsuit. As stated by Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, this law “will ensure that companies and bankruptcy trusts both pay their fair share of recoveries to claimants. It will also help Utah manufacturing companies and protect jobs by ensuring that no more companies are bankrupted by abuse claims.”

As depicted in the law, the purposes of the new legislation are to provide transparency with respect to asbestos bankruptcy trust claims in civil asbestos actions and to reduce the opportunity for fraud or suppression of evidence in asbestos actions. The sections of the law dictate the required disclosures by the plaintiff, the proper use of materials in discovery, when the court should stay an asbestos action, how to handle the identification of additional or alternative asbestos trusts by the defendant, how to handle the valuation of asbestos trust claims, how to sanction the failure to provide information. Finally, the application sections states that this part applies to asbestos actions filed on or after May 10, 2016.