Asbestos Litigation in the United States

A Brief Overview

by Deborah R. Hensler

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This paper, an edited transcript of written testimony delivered in October 1991 to the Courts and Judicial Administration Subcommittee, United States House Judiciary Committee, summarizes the scope of asbestos litigation in the United States, the response of the civil justice system to date, and the obstacles to efficient and equitable resolution of asbestos-related personal injury claims. An equitable and efficient national solution to the asbestos litigation problem will have to demonstrate sensitivity to the past history of asbestos litigation, cope with the current crush of claims and include a strategy for responding to future claims. Most important, the success of any solution will depend on a realistic assessment of the number and type of future asbestos-related claims.

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