The New Face of Asbestos Litigation
Charles Bates participated in a panel that considered whether the asbestos bankruptcy process is still a viable means of resolving asbestos liability. Dr. Bates discussed whether the historical model used for evaluating current and future asbestos liability was still appropriate, and whether, in today’s dramatically changed claiming environment, there are mechanisms outside of the bankruptcy process that might better serve companies and seriously ill claimants.
“Mass recruited” nonmalignant asbestos claims are virtually nil today. But such claims, which totaled 600,000 from 1981–2005 and peaked in 2001/2002, caused a wave of defendant company bankruptcies. Dr. Bates estimates that the cost of this deluge to defendants, insurers, and sick claimants (who were impeded from having their claims paid) could reach $50 billion or more.