Manufacturing Argues Again For Tort Reform

By John S. McClenahen The Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is praising bipartisan legislation introduced last Thursday to reform asbestos liability laws. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R, Utah) introduced the measure along with Sens. Ben Nelson (R, Neb.), George Voinovich (R, Ohio), Zell Miller (D, Ga.), Mike DeWine (R, Ohio) and George Allen (R, Va.). The legislation notably would create a specialized court designed to pay eligible claimants through a no-fault system within a few months. "For our part, we're determined to work with everyone involved . . . as long as it takes to achieve meaningful resolution," says Jan Amundson, NAM's general counsel. Meanwhile, Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, an Arlington, Va. business and public policy group, has released a book arguing the case for broader-based tort reform. In addition to the adoption of "objective medical criteria" for determining asbestos-related injury, its eight recommendations include curtailing "forum shopping" for civil suits and limiting punitive damages.

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