The product was pulled off the market decades ago, yet asbestos lawsuits continue to pile up at an accelerating pace. Scores of companies have gone bankrupt paying asbestos claims. Halliburton – a company that neither made nor marketed products containing asbestos, but bought a company that did – is the latest to be caught in the crosshairs of the trial lawyers.
Here's the kicker: People who are not sick and probably never will be sick account for as many as 80 percent of all asbestos-related claims. Texas should do what Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and the federal asbestos courts do: Place asbestos claimants without symptoms on a deferral registry, halt the statute of limitations on their behalf and let their claim proceed in the unlikely event they get sick.
The seriously ill would have their case heard more promptly and judges could better manage their caseloads. The truly injured would not have their case lumped together with those of lesser or no injury, and bystander defendants, like Halliburton, might be able to remain solvent.
Peter M. Way, Houston