Relating to asbestos trust claims; to add Article 35A, commencing with Section 6-5-690, to Chapter 5 of Title of the Code of Alabama 1975, to create the Asbestos Exposure Transparency Act; to require a plaintiff in an asbestos action to file a sworn statement disclosing information regarding the plaintiff's exposure to asbestos or, alternatively, file available asbestos trust claims and produce all trust claims materials before trial.
Article 35A, commencing with Section 6-5-690, is added to Chapter 5 of Title 6 of the Code of Alabama 1975, to read as follows: §6-5-690. This act shall be known and may be cited as the Asbestos Exposure Transparency Act. §6-5-691. Definitions. For the purposes of this article, the following terms shall have the following meanings: (1) ASBESTOS ACTION. A civil action arising out of, based on, or related to the health effects of exposure to asbestos and any derivative claim made by or on behalf of a person exposed to asbestos or a representative, spouse, parent, child, or other relative of that person. The term asbestos action does not include claims alleging ovarian cancer. (2) ASBESTOS TRUST. A government-approved or court-approved trust, qualified settlement fund, compensation fund, or claims facility that is created as a result of an administrative or legal action, a court-approved bankruptcy, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §524(g), 11 U.S.C. §1121(a), or other applicable provision of law, that is intended, in whole or in part, to provide compensation to claimants arising out of, based on, or related to the health effects of exposure to asbestos. (3) TRUST CLAIM MATERIALS. A final executed proof of claim and all documents and information submitted to or received from an asbestos trust, including claim forms and supplementary materials, affidavits, medical and health records, depositions and trial testimony of the plaintiff and others knowledgeable about the plaintiff's exposure history, work history, exposure allegations, all documents that reflect the status of a claim against an asbestos trust, and, if the trust claim has been resolved. (4) TRUST GOVERNANCE DOCUMENTS. All documents that relate to eligibility and payment levels, including claims payment matrices, trust distribution procedures, or plans for reorganization, for an asbestos trust. §6-5-692. Required disclosures by plaintiff. (a) Subject to Section 6-5-693, within 90 days after a plaintiff files an asbestos action, the plaintiff shall do all of the following: (1) Provide all parties with an affidavit, signed under oath by the plaintiff, stating all of the following: a. The plaintiff's name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, marital status, occupation, and employers, and if the plaintiff alleges exposure to asbestos through another person, the identity of the other person, and that person's relationship to the plaintiff. b. The asbestos-related disease claimed to exist. c. The plaintiff and plaintiff's counsel have conducted an investigation into all potential sources of the plaintiff's exposure to asbestos and identify with specificity each and every source of exposure to asbestos that is available or known to the plaintiff or plaintiff's counsel and any person through which the plaintiff alleges exposure, including all asbestos-containing products to which the plaintiff or other person were exposed, whether from bankrupt entities or otherwise, and all premises at which the plaintiff and the other person were exposed to asbestos; the specific location and manner of each alleged exposure to asbestos; the beginning and ending dates of each alleged exposure; and the specific connection of each defendant to the alleged exposure to asbestos. (2) Provide all parties with all supporting documentation relating to this section. (b) If a defendant presents evidence that the plaintiff's affidavit is incomplete, the defendant may move the court for an order to require the plaintiff to supplement the affidavit. If the court determines that there is a sufficient basis for the plaintiff to supplement the affidavit, the court shall enter an order to require the plaintiff to supplement the affidavit and shall stay the action until the plaintiff supplements the affidavit as provided by the court and produces the supplemental affidavit to the parties. (c) The court shall dismiss the plaintiff's claim without prejudice if the plaintiff fails to provide the information required in this section or fails to satisfy an order to supplement the plaintiff's affidavit within 90 days from the time the information is required to be provided to the parties. §6-5-693. Bankruptcy trust information. (a) A plaintiff in an asbestos action need not comply with Section 6-5-692, if, within 90 days after the plaintiff files an asbestos action, the plaintiff files all available asbestos trust claims and provides the parties with all trust claim materials available to the plaintiff or plaintiff's counsel in relation to the plaintiff's exposure to asbestos. This section does not apply if the plaintiff complies with Section 6-5-692. (b) A plaintiff has a continuing duty to supplement the information and materials provided under subsection (a) within 30 days after the plaintiff supplements an asbestos trust claim, receives additional information or materials related to an asbestos trust claim, or files an additional trust claim. (c) Not less than 60 days before trial, if a defendant presents evidence that the plaintiff has not filed all available asbestos trust claims, as required under subsection (a), the defendant may move the court for an order to require the plaintiff to file additional trust claims. If a defendant has previously filed a motion under this section, the court shall not grant a subsequent motion if the defendant knew that the claimant met the criteria for payment for the additional trust claim identified in the subsequent motion at the time the earlier motion was filed. (d) Trial in an asbestos action may not begin until at least 60 days after the plaintiff complies with this section. §6-5-694. Discovery. (a) In an asbestos action, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that trust claim materials and trust governance documents are relevant, authentic, and admissible in evidence. A claim of privilege does not apply to trust claim materials or trust governance documents. (b) A defendant in an asbestos action may seek discovery from an asbestos trust. The plaintiff may not claim privilege or confidentiality to bar discovery and shall provide consent or other expression of permission that may be required by the asbestos trust to release the information and materials sought by the defendant.
This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law. Senate Read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary............................ 0.5-MAR-19Read for the second time and placed on the calen- dar with 1 substitute and......................... 1.8-APR-19Read for the third time and passed as amended .... 3.0-APR-19 Yeas 27 Nays Patrick Harris, Secretary.
|May 16, 2019||S||Assigned Act No. 2019-261.|
|May 16, 2019||S||Enrolled|
|May 16, 2019||H||Signature Requested|
|May 16, 2019||S||Passed Second House|
|May 15, 2019||H||Motion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 740|
|May 15, 2019||H||Third Reading Passed|
|May 7, 2019||H||Read for the second time and placed on the calendar|
|April 30, 2019||H||Read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Commerce and Small Business|
|April 30, 2019||S||Engrossed|
|April 30, 2019||S||Motion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 425|
|April 30, 2019||S||Roberts motion to Adopt adopted Roll Call 424|
|April 30, 2019||S||Roberts Amendment Offered|
|April 30, 2019||S||Roberts motion to Adopt adopted Roll Call 423|
|April 30, 2019||S||Judiciary first Substitute Offered|
|April 30, 2019||S||Third Reading Passed|
|April 18, 2019||S||Read for the second time and placed on the calendar with 1 substitute and|
|March 5, 2019||S||Read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary|