Bill in Congress Would Harm Former Shipyard Workers

Editorial, Newport News-Hampton Va. Daily Press - "Until the 1970s, thousands of local shipyard employees, including those at Newport News Shipbuilding, worked with asbestos that was used for insulation and fireproofing. That cancer-causing substance proved devastating to people who inhaled asbestos fibers.... A bill now in Congress, misleadingly dubbed the "Fairness in Asbestos Compensation Act," would prevent many victims from suing for fair compensation.... The bill would prevent some victims from even getting a chance to sue.... The bill bows tremendously to asbestos manufacturers; many are more concerned about limiting liability than helping victims. Are the courts really clogged? The Association of Trial Lawyers of America testified in Congress that many cases are processed and settled in a timely way without even going to trial. In 1998, only 55 asbestos trials involving 125 people were completed in state and federal courts, a 45 percent decline from 1997. Passage of this bill would harm any people in Hampton Roads who unwittingly suffered because of asbestos. Congress should scrap it."

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