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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.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.