Senate Wants to Study Fairness, Awards in Asbestos Lawsuits

Mar 15, 2018

An asbestos warning sign.
Credit EPA

The state Senate wants to take a closer at asbestos-related lawsuits in New Hampshire.

They voted Thursday to form a study committee on issues of transparency and speed in asbestos litigation.

This committee would replace a bill that's part of a national lobbying effort by insurers and big manufacturers. That proposal would require people suing for asbestos exposure to first prove they can't get compensation anywhere else.

Anthony Carr is a lawyer in Manchester who represents people with mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos.

He says the original bill would interrupt the crucial early days of a lawsuit by making plaintiffs first ask asbestos trust funds for smaller pay-outs.

"They could come to us literally on their deathbed,” Carr says. “And instead of us doing what we're supposed to be doing, we have to file claims with trusts even if we don't want to." 

EPA photo of an asbestos pipe wrap.
Credit EPA

Others claim double-dipping is an issue in New Hampshire, though the state courts haven't dealt with an asbestos lawsuit in years.

The bill for the study committee will still need approval from the House and the governor.