WSJ Misrepresents Personal Injury Law In Support Of ALEC Effort To Deny Asbestos Relief In Ohio
A Wall Street Journal editorial echoed right-wing talking points to endorse an Ohio bill that would restrict asbestos victims from proving their claims at trial. But the editorial, which claims “rampant fraud” exists in asbestos-related litigation, provides no evidence of systemic abuse, conceals the fact that multiple companies can be legally responsible for asbestos injuries, and fails to disclose that the state legislation is a corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council bill pushed by top Republican ALEC officials.
Asbestos kills 10,000 people annually through cancer and catastrophic lung damage. Asbestos is still legal despite the fact that it is the proven cause of an ongoing epidemic, which is why companies that continue to produce or use asbestos may be sued for asbestos-caused disease. A victim can pursue legal relief against a bankrupt asbestos company by filing a claim against its trust. Personal injury law – tort law – generally holds that multiple actors can be legally responsible for the same injury and sued separately.
The WSJ, however, obscured this general tort principle in the editorial and misleadingly accused asbestos victims of “double-dipping” by filing claims against multiple companies who may all have contributed to the harm: