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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136919 Find in a Library
Title: Developments in Asbestos Litigation, Review Commission Authority, and Criminal Prosecutions
Journal: Employee Relations Law Journal  Volume:17  Issue:3  Dated:(Winter 1991-1992)  Pages:503-509
Author(s): R H Sand
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 7
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The efforts of attorneys and judges to cope with the ongoing litigation associated with asbestos are discussed, and the recent decisions affecting the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Commission and criminal prosecutions are reviewed.
Abstract: In 1991, the Federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation moved to consolidate 30,000 suits for personal injury from asbestos; there was a general recognition that drastic reorganization was needed in order to allocate the shrinking assets of the defendants among the neediest victims. The judge consolidating the pretrial proceedings will consider a number of approaches including deferring of cases involving plaintiffs who are not seriously ill, setting limitations on contingency fees for counsel, severing punitive damage claims until all compensatory damage claims have been settled, eliminating frivolous claims, and pursuing global settlements through the use of alternate dispute resolution techniques. Also in 1991, a U.S. Supreme Court decision curtailed the authority of the OSH Review Commission and simultaneously strengthened the Department of Labor's enforcement powers. The positive and negative outcomes of recent court cases have both encouraged criminal prosecutors to proceed with asbestos-related cases and demonstrated again the difficulty of proving criminal intent and conduct beyond a reasonable doubt. 6 notes
Main Term(s): Litigation causes; Occupational safety and health
Index Term(s): US Supreme Court decisions
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