Gov. Walker signed AB 19, asbestos trust fund transparency, into law as Act 154 on March 27. The new law allows greater transparency by:
- Requiring asbestos plaintiffs to disclose any and all claims that they have filed or will file with asbestos trust funds, along with all of the documents and information that support the trust claims.
- Requiring judges to admit trust claims and supporting materials into evidence at trial; prohibiting plaintiffs from spuriously alleging that trust claims and their supporting documents are privileged.
- Providing defendants with a powerful tool to ensure that plaintiffs file and disclose all possible claims with asbestos trusts. AB 19 authorizes defendants to identify trust claims that the plaintiff could and should file. If a judge agrees, the case is stayed until that claim is filed and disclosed.
Wisconsin now joins Ohio and Oklahoma by having a law in place that protects businesses from unscrupulous plaintiff attorneys double-dipping against trust funds and suing those solvent businesses that have little, if any, fault.